BENGALURU: 50,000 people attended a wedding in Bengaluru hosted by politician and mining tycoon G Janardhana Reddy. Not invited, but present nevertheless, were some tax officers who, according to sources, were discreetly appraising the lavish arrangements.
Which were not for those whose taste may run towards understated.
There was the huge venue - spread over several acres - in the heart of Bengaluru. Within that, there were sets designed by Bollywood art directors, allowing attendees to wander from a replica of a famous temple in Hampi to a bustling market packed with arts and crafts. Or for those heavily invested in the Reddy family history, homes of the bride and groom and their parents could be toured.
Helium balloons with the Reddys' faces soared above the venue. On the ground, there were troupes of dancers from countries including Brazil. They had to move smoothly to get around the 3,000 bouncers and security guards.
The reported cost - 30 crores according to relatives who spoke on the condition of anonymity - has impelled public outrage at a time when so many are struggling to find the cash to buy food following the government's shock move to pull high-value notes out of circulation in a bid to tackle tax evasion.
However, senior politicians and a few ministers like Home Minister G Parameshwara and Energy minister DK Shivkumar attended the wedding. So did the BJP's top leader in the state, BS Yeddyurappa, in whose government Mr Reddy served as minister.
Mr Reddy, 49, spent three years in jail for his alleged involvement in a mining scam before he was released on bail last year. Speaking to journalists last week, he refused to reveal how much he was spending on the celebrations, but said everything would be declared to the tax authorities.
A tip off to the scale of the event was the wedding invite, which was sent on LCD screens.
Family members said that most bills were paid by cheque before last week's move of demonetization was announced.
But income tax officials dropped in anyway. "We are interested in quantifying the expenditure in such a big event," said one, speaking on the condition of anonymity.