Mumbai Congress unit chief Sanjay Nirupam on Wednesday claimed that 18,591 cups of tea are served in the Maharashtra chief minister’s office every day.

Calling it a “tea scam”, Nirupam referred to documents from a Right To Information query to claim that the cost of so many cups of tea was more than Rs 3.4 crore in the year 2017-2018 – a 577% rise in the money spent by the chief minister’s office on tea from 2015-2016 to 2017-2018.

“All these years, I have heard of green tea and yellow tea, but this seems to be some kind of golden tea,” Nirupam said, according to the Hindustan Times. “How much and what kind of tea is Devendra Fadnavis drinking?” he asked, while criticising the expenditure “when farmers are dying in Maharashtra”.

Nirupam alleged corruption in the processing of the tea bills in the chief minister’s office, IANS reported.

“On one hand, the prime minister takes great pride in saying that he was a chaiwala,” Nirupam said. “On the other hand, Fadnavis clearly took this a bit too far with the massive and unnecessary expense incurred on serving tea in his office.”

In response to a question on whether it was even possible that more than 18,000 cups of tea were served in a day, Nirupam said, “Those Mantralaya rats must be drinking it all up,” IANS reported.

The Congress leader was referring to remarks by Bharatiya Janata Party leader and former Maharashtra minister Eknath Khadse earlier this month. Khadse wanted to know how a pest control company employed by the state had killed 3,19,400 rats in the state secretariat in just seven days.