According to a bill by the Protocol department at , a union minister from Karnataka drank five cups of coffee, six glasses of juice, six bottles of water and several sandwiches in one sitting at Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in Bengaluru. If you are wondering if the minister took part in some food competition, be assured that it is not… It was all a part of a scam by the protocol department at the Bengaluru airport.

Union law Minister DV Sadananda Gowda, minister for chemicals and fertilisers Ananth Kumar, and minister of state for food and civil aviation GM Siddeshwara were the victims of this scam, as they have been receiving a bill amount of Rs 3-4 lakhs per month for the past few months. It came to light when Gowda complained about it.

For the past 10 months, several ministers, few Supreme Court judges, chief ministers of other states, governors of other states and foreign dignitaries have been receiving the inflated bills with lakhs of rupees from the KIA protocol department. The job of this protocol department -consisting of 14 officials- is to take care of the state guests whenever they use the airport. For the past many years, the bill amounts have not extended Rs 35,000 to 40,000, according to a report in the Bangalore Mirror.

Union law minister Gowda shared that he rarely consumes anything at the airport, and when he does, it is usually just a cup of green tea, which wouldn’t cost more than Rs 150 and he was shocked to see the bills. The same happened with minister Ananth Kumar.

Usually, the ministers never have time to lounge around in the airport as they normally board flights in the last minute.

Alerted by the scam, Gowda has sent a letter to the state government raising the issue; and it said, “I have learnt that the state government’s protocol personnel at the Bengaluru airport have claimed bills in my name stating that I have consumed beverages, snacks and meals at the VIP lounge whenever I have travelled to Delhi and other states though the airport. But I have not ordered for or consumed anything at the airport. Claiming bills by giving false information is nothing but a clear breach of protocol. Since the personnel attached to the protocol wing are from the department of personnel and administrative reforms, the breach has to be taken seriously and a thorough probe has to be ordered. Action has to be initiated against those who have fabricated the bills in my name and a report to this effect has to be submitted to me.”

It is a common notion that politicians are corrupt but this time; the ministers themselves have been a victim of corruption.

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