Photos from Rahul Gandhi's recent visit to Dubai showing him having breakfast at the residence of one of Dubai's businessmen is viral with a misleading claim that he had an obscenely expensive meal at a five star hotel in the city. Social media posts also claim that Gandhi had beef during the said meal.
The posts which shows Indian National Congress President Gandhi seated with middle-east businessman Sunny Varkey and Sam Pitroda at a table which has a lavish spread of food, misleadingly claims Gandhi had breakfast worth £1500 at the Hilton. Photos from the same event also claim that thinly sliced pieces of meat on the table are beef and that Gandhi was eating the same.
Twitter user Rishi Bagree claimed that Gandhi met a delegation led by Sam Pitroda, Chairman, Indian Overseas Congress and "discussed poverty" while having breakfast "worth £1500 at the banquet hall in Hilton". Bagree's post has been retweeted more than 2000 times and liked more than 3000 times.
Incidentally, Bagree who in the past too has shared fake and unverified images and posts is followed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah and Union Cabinet Minister of Textiles Smriti Irani.
The post is also viral on Facebook with a simlar caption, "Rahul Gandhi met Sam Pitroda led delegation today in the Hilton Banquet hall where they had £1500 (Aprox Rs. 1,35000/-) Breakfast per head & discussed about Poverty"
BOOM looked through news reports about Gandhi's visit to Dubai and found that the photo was clicked during a breakfast meet held at the residence of one of the businessmen and and not at the banquet hall of The Hilton. The breakfast meet was hosted by Sunny Varkey, founder of GEMS education and Varkey Foundation at his residence in Dubai.
The meet was attended by business leaders from Dubai like Yusuff Ali MA, founder of Lulu group and Congress leaders like Pitroda and Milind Deora.
BOOM contacted the offices of Yusuff Ali who confirmed that the breakfast meet was held at Varkey's house. "The breakfast was not at any hotel but at the house of Varkey. There have been pictures posted mentioning the same too,"said one of the close aides of Ali. The same was also confirmed by V Nandakumar, communications manager, Lulu group.
A Indian National Congress spokesperson also confirmed that the "breakfast meet was hosted by Varkey at his personal residence" and not at the banquet hall of a hotel. The details of the same were also tweeted by the official handle of the Congress on January 11.
We also found posts from other Congress workers which corroborated the breakfast was held at a residence.
Also, the official currency of Dubai is dirhams and not pounds as claimed in the tweet by Bagree.
A Twitter user posted a photo from the same breakfast meet and highlighted a piece of meat and claimed that it was beef. This post was retweeted over 1000 times.
The same photo is viral on Facebook and Whatsapp with a caption, "HERE IS THE SO CALLED DATTARATREYA KAUL BRAHMAN RAHUL GANDHI EATING BEEF IN DUBAI.. ANYTHING ELSE TO BE SAID!!" The caption on the photo also claims that since UAE is an Islamic country, it doesn't serve pork and hence the meat is beef.
BOOM contacted a Congress spokesperson who denied the allegations and said that no beef was served at the breakfast meet. "No beef was served at the breakfast meet. The meat circled in the first photo is in fact turkey," said the spokesperson adding that Gandhi only had orange juice and scrambled eggs.
BOOM was not able to independently confirm or deny whether the served meat was beef.