Amid a controversy surrounding his stay in a five-star hotel in the capital, External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on Tuesday said he will continue to make "the same kind of private arrangements" till his official residence was ready.
"I have made some private arrangements. I will continue to make the same kind of private arrangements till I get my house fit enough to be occupied," Krishna told reporters here Tuesday.
His remarks came after Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee asked Krishna and Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor to move out from luxury hotels they have been staying in over three months since they became ministers in the cabinet of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
"I have requested both the ministers to vacate hotel rooms," Mukherjee said in Delhi on Tuesday.
He was reacting to a front-page report in The Indian Express that disclosed that the two ministers were staying in two five star hotels in the capital, although they were paying the bills themselves.
Krishna was staying at Hotel ITC Maurya at Sardar Patel Marg. Tharoor, who was staying at Hotel Taj Mahal on Man Singh Road, has moved to an Indian Navy guesthouse since Sep 1.
The report has embarrassed the government at a time when it has embarked on an austerity drive, asking ministers and bureaucrats to cut down on needless expenses in time of recession and deepening drought.
However, an aide to Krishna said the minister was extremely upset as he was paying for the hotel stay from his pocket.
"Not a penny has been spent by the government. The media is just indulging in sensationalism," the aide said.