An investigation by TNM has revealed that executives of a company that is implementing mega infrastructure projects in Telangana, busied themselves with the planning of an IAS officer’s daughter’s wedding.

File photo of Telangana Special Chief Secretary Rajat Kumar. Rajat Kumar in centre, cutting the ribbon
Delve TNM Investigation Thursday, January 27, 2022 - 13:05

Hundreds of guests, multiple parties in Hyderabad’s top hotels and a banquet at the luxurious Taj Falaknuma Palace. The recent wedding of Telangana Special Chief Secretary Rajat Kumar’s daughter, Anjali Kumar, was a five-day affair fit for royalty. Now, a detailed investigation by TNM has revealed that a significant part of the gala was billed to a mysterious company — BigWave Infra Private Limited.

The search for the address of the company led us to a house in Bahadurpura area of Hyderabad's old city where a confused looking elderly lady greeted us. She clearly knew nothing about a company registered at her address that was connected to this five-star wedding. In pursuit of the money trail, TNM also found documents showing executives of a Hyderabad-based government contractor — Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) — were intimately involved in the planning of the wedding that was spread over five days and multiple luxury venues between December 17 and 21, 2021.

MEIL is the company that is carrying out several works for Telangana’s ambitious Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project. The cost of the project is currently pegged at a whopping Rs 1.15 lakh crore. It is touted to be the country’s most expensive irrigation project taken up by a state government. Reports also describe it as the world's largest lift irrigation project. MEIL is constructing massive power substations and transmission lines for the project.

What's more, Rajat Kumar heads the Irrigation and Command Area Development Department which monitors the Kaleshwaram project.

The documents exposing this unofficial relationship — between the contractors of the Kaleshwaram project and the nodal officer overseeing the works — raises serious questions of propriety.

Documents with TNM reveal that MEIL executives coordinated the contracts, bookings and payments for the wedding celebrations with the Taj Group, whose hotels Taj Krishna, Taj Deccan and Taj Falaknuma were used for the various wedding events and for the wedding guests to stay.

The company’s executives also coordinated the planning for the events using their company email IDs, and some a dummy email ID, created exclusively to coordinate the Special Chief Secretary’s daughter’s wedding.

The company executive however signed off on mails from the fake ID with his real name. While the dummy email ID was used initially, many of the communications in the latter stages were between MEIL executives using their company emails, and hotel staff.

What we know: How MEIL was “indirectly” involved

On July 31, 2021, a gmail account called ‘bookingshyderabad’ was used to email the hotel to make bookings for the banquet halls and rooms at the hotel in advance, so that the wedding dates are blocked. The email was signed off as 'Murali'. Subsequently, Murali K and another MEIL executive Prameelan T, coordinated the bookings, invoices and payments for the event. 

Email from Murali to the hotel group on July 31, 2021, for making bookings for the December 2021 wedding.


Murali and Prameelan from MEIL received the menus for Rajat Kumar's daughter's wedding. 


Murali from MEIL received the contract and invoice in the name of BigWave Infra Private Ltd for the event.


For December 17, Murali from MEIL booked the Al Fresco Lawn for lunch; the Luxury suite for high tea; and the Chambers Lawn for dinner. On December 18, breakfast and dinner were booked at the Garden room, while lunch was booked at the Al Fresco Lawn. Similarly other venues were booked in Taj Krishna for the meals on December 19, 20 and 21. These details were finalised on December 13.

MEIL’s initial contract with the hotels was for around Rs 50 lakh. Information accessed by TNM shows that the invoices were asked to be raised in the name of two companies — Interactive Data Systems; and BigWave Infra Private Limited, which we found was created in June 2021. The directors of Interactive Data Systems are also on the boards of various MEIL companies.

But when the time came to make payments, the company linked to MEIL backed off and an outstanding amount of Rs 23 lakh was billed to BigWave.

The preliminary talks for the bookings were conducted by Rajat Kumar himself, according to two sources who TNM spoke to. Later, the bureaucrat’s Officer on Special Duty (OSD), Prabhakar Rao coordinated all the arrangements along with two MEIL executives, they confirmed.

On December 20, a lavish dinner was hosted by Special Chief Secretary Rajat Kumar for his daughter, son-in-law and their guests at the Taj Falaknuma, a luxury palace hotel, for 70 guests, with the hotel charging Rs 16,520 per guest.

Taj Falaknuma’s 101-seater dining hall is one of its most exclusive venues, a place for the rich and famous to mingle. It’s where the government hosts important guests and dignitaries when they visit Hyderabad. Photos from this event were shared on social media by Rajat Kumar’s daughter and other family members. Guests from both sides of the family were part of this pricey party. The entire expense, of course, was billed to BigWave Infra Private Limited. 

Invoice in the name of BigWave Infra Private Limited on December 15, for the dinner at Taj Falaknuma on December 20. This invoice was collected by MEIL.


Who runs BigWave?

A look into the Registrar of Companies (ROC) for the two companies who received invoices for Special Chief Secretary Rajat Kumar’s daughter’s wedding events, revealed that Interactive Data System was incorporated in June 2010. Sumalatha Puritipati, is the MD of the company while Venkata Subba Reddy Puritipati is the Director of the company and Krishna Veni Chintapalli is an additional director in the company. Both of them are also Directors of many other companies that belong to the Megha group of companies.

BigWave Infra Private Limited on the other hand is fairly new, and was incorporated in June 2021, just a few months before the wedding. The directors of the company are listed as Sandhya Agarwal and Anusha, and the company is registered for ‘building installation’ works.

TNM's search for BigWave Infra Pvt Ltd’s registered address took us to the narrow bylanes of Bahadurpura in Hyderabad's old city. The registered address was in a fully residential building. The door was opened by an elderly lady who appeared clueless. She turned out to be the mother of Sandhya Agarwal — one of the listed directors. The lady gave us Sandhya’s number and when TNM spoke to her, she sounded clearly unsettled by our questions. She said that the home address was the registered address for BigWave, but “the company is somewhere else.” In a few minutes, we received a call from Sandhya’s husband Srikanth. He sought to know why we had come searching for BigWave and when we presented the reason, he said, “Someone from BigWave will call you back.”

A few days later, Srikanth said he did not have anything to do with BigWave and that he was an employee of Interactive Data Systems. Sandhya did not respond to our query on how she was made the director of BigWave.

What we don’t know: The final payment

Initially, the proforma mentioned around Rs 50 lakh as the total expense for the functions and room bookings. TNM is in possession of a document indicating that a payment of Rs 23 lakh was made to the hotel via one cheque by BigWave, an amount of around Rs 5 lakhs is still pending, however the Taj group refused to reveal any details about the wedding, and BigWave did not confirm the payment.

The groom’s father made payments for the rooms they had booked in two of Taj’s properties. Another part of the payment was made by Rajat Kumar, according to a source. Finer details of how much the final payment was and how it was split are pending.

Rajat Kumar and MEIL deny

When TNM reached out to Rajat Kumar to ask what he had to say about the trail of documents this reporter had accessed which indicate that BigWave paid Rs 23 Lakh for the bookings, Kumar denied it. “This is incorrect. I had not heard about this company called BigWave earlier.” When further asked why MEIL was in touch with the hotel to make the bookings and coordinate the events in relation to his daughter’s wedding, the IAS officer said, “MEIL did not make any of the bookings or coordinate anything, I personally made all the bookings.” 

TNM also reached out to MEIL for a reaction about why K Murali, an Associate Manager from MEIL was coordinating the bookings and arrangements. M Siva Prasad Reddy, General Manager (Public Relation) at MEIL said they would check the same and revert. He later visited The News Minute office in Bengaluru in the evening of January 24, but did not have a reaction to the story. He said the documents were fabricated and the company had nothing to do with the wedding. 

TNM also reached out to Shantala Jain, the Public Relations Director of the Taj Group for a reaction on the payment made by a private company for a bureaucrat’s daughter’s wedding. “No comment from our side on this. We don’t share any client information,” responded the PR Director.

Rajat Kumar was in news in 2019 too after social media was flooded with fake documents claiming Rajat Kumar had been gifted land by the TRS for his favours to the ruling-party in the elections, while he served as the Chief Electoral Officer. The bureaucrat had later clarified that the documents circulated were fake and a complaint was also filed with the Hyderabad Cyber Police against the smear campaign.

UPDATE: Four minutes after this article was published, MEIL sent us a response to the investigation.

MEIL in their response said that the companies mentioned in the article are not related to them. Further, they said that activities done in a "personal capacity" cannot be attributed to the company. "MEIL is not responsible for the transactions that were flagged to us by your good self. We, as a company, are also not aware of any such transaction happening nor were we a party to any such thing," they said. "MEIL is in no way linked to the activity that you mentioned in your email. An individual's alleged deeds cannot be attributed to the company," the added. 

"If anybody does an activity in his/her personal capacity, the same cannot be attributed to any company. MEIL is not responsible for the transactions that were flagged to us by your good self. We, as a company, are also not aware of any such transaction happening nor were we a party to any such thing," MEIL added.

(TNM has documents to prove all points mentioned in the story)

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