The opulent wedding which could have earned the envy of every parent in Bharat, invited the wrath of not only from his own jealous party members but also from opposition and public. The marriage has surpassed the record set by former CM Jayalalithaa who conducted her foster son VN Sudhakaran’s marriage on July 9, 1995, spent 1.14 crore on food, mineral water and Tamboolam bags alone.
Madurai based DMK Registration and Commercial Tax Minister P Murthy’s son multi-crore-rupee extravaganza, costing allegedly over 300 crore rupees stuns all in the state. TN CM Stalin, his cabinet colleagues, MLAs, MPs, party functionaries, government officials were in attendance to this ‘mother of all marriages’. CM Stalin praised Murthy that he would hit several targets with one stone and was in the habit doing things in grand scale and celebrated his son marriage like a zonal party conference.
Nothing wrong in conducting his son’s marriage but the arrangements for the same raises several eyebrows. His eldest son P.M. Dyanesh married Trichy based S. Smirthavarshini on 9th September. The multi-cuisine, mouth-watering palatable and relishing several course of dishes on plates became the hot topic of town more than the marriage itself. For Reception and marriage, over 4,500 goats, 24,000 chicken were used to make delectable biryani. There was a separate dining hall for vegetarian eaters.
In the venue of marriage near Pondy Koil in Madurai in a 30 acre land stood a ‘fort’ like structure which was the culmination of two month’s long preparations. The grand structure reminded us the film director Shankar’s sets in his films costing several crores and gives tough to ‘Baahubali’ film makers. Tons of plywood, plaster of Paris and paint were lavished on erecting fort like structure, arches and elaborate facades of palaces and gateways and several hundred papier-mache articles. For VIPs and guests, there were white cloth covered costly two-seat Sofa sets and glittering chandeliers above their heads. The wedding pandal was no less commanding with the thatched roof camouflaged by a false ceiling and decorated cloth hangings. Battery of camera, video crew that shot every frame to make it memorable. Rooms in all-star- hotels in Madurai were booked for guests to stay costing several crores. All guests were given a small metal box with turmeric soaked yellow rice (Akshathai) to shower on couples as blessings. To receive guests well decorated two elephants from Kerala were stationed at the entrance.
The marriage venue can accommodate more than a lakh guest and nearly 15,000 can dine at a hall at a time, coupled with separate VIP dining area. According to media reports and videos that were in circulation, there were over 50 hi tech counters, managed by a private firm, to collect ‘moi’ or gift in cash form the guests who were brought by bus, cars, and vans to the venue. A day before the marriage, in the reception Film Music director Deva enthralled the guests. Those who attended both marriage and reception were a Thambool bag (return gift) containing variety of costly articles including nariyal (coconut), banana, apple, sweets, savories etc. The greedy guests took away the sugarcane, banana bunches, tender coconut, palm fruit bunches and fruits that were tied on both sides en-route to the venue of the marriage hall to home and tons of flowers for decoration. Media reports put the total expenses ranging from over 100 crores to 300 crores. In surrounding districts, cooks, musicians, meat were unavailable. Unverifiable sources say “each sub-registrar office has been asked to pool in a minimum of 25,000 each to meet the expenses. All district revenue administration were given a target of 25 lakhs each. VIP invitations contained silk saree, dhoti and gold or silver plate according to their importance costing minimum of each ten lakhs. Guests were invited through pre-recorded audio clip. Relatives and friends were given bundles of cash before marriage only to be returned as ‘Moi’ –to convert black into white. Those who missed the marriage including bureaucrats are asked to come to home to make their cash gifts” .
Former AIADMK Law Minister CV Shanmugam said “Murthy’s has no royal lineage. He was made minister only in 2021. During a short period of time, he could celebrate his son’s marriage in such a royal scale and it raised a question of source of his income. We will not leave this easily “.
In his 2021 poll affidavit, Murthy mentioned that in his and his family name there are movable properties worth Rs.4.66 cr. and 6.4 cr. worth immovable properties besides a loan of Rs.1.96 cr. Within 15 months of becoming a minister, what was his source to arrange marriage in such a grand scale t?is the question everybody asks.
It pertinent to note that last month DMK MLA conducted a function. TN BJP state president Annamalai commented that 11 crores was added to the Moi party held for the grandchildren of DMK Peravoorani MLA in the name of Khathu Kuthu ( ear piercing ceremony for a new born) and that black money was whitened in the name of ‘‘Moi vudhunu”. It is a community feast and a source of crowd-funding during hard times and a last resort to meet their financial commitments. “For his own profit, the DMK MLA has served non-vegetarian and vegetarian food to over 8,000 people in the form of 100 goats mutton gravy, intestine gravy, chicken roast. Around 50 collection counters, cash counting machine to carefully count the money coming in and a host of bank officials to receive it” he said.
Political commentator Ganesan says,” DMK came to power last year only after it was sitting in the opposition benches. Within a short span, one of its minister with a cash rich Registration and commercial taxes portfolio could celebrate his son’s marriage in an opulent manners envious of all, it hints at rampant corruption in the regime. Senior wealthy minister K N Nehru conducted a his family marriage as a low key one ”.