Friday, December 7, 2012


Gujarat EDN
TOI 02OCT2012

RTI Activist Dents Chief Minister’s Attack On Cost Of Sonia’s Foreign Tours

Rajkot/Chandigarh: Two days ahead of Sonia Gandhi’s visit to Rajkot, chief minister Narendra Modi unleashed a barrage of accusations against the UPA chairperson alleging that her foreign tours were funded with Rs 1,880 crore public money.
    Modi, who took his Swami Vivekanand Yuva Vikas Yatra to his bĂȘte noire Keshubhai Patel’s home turf in Amreli and Junagadh, flashed documents, which he claimed were procured under Right to Information (RTI) by a Haryana-based activist from Hisar, to back his allegations about Sonia’s extravagant spending “in times of inflation”. However, hours later, Modi’s attack was dented with the activist Ramesh Verma stating that the RTI information was not procured by him.
    “The Centre has incurred Rs 1,880 crore expenditure behind Sonia Gandhi’s personal foreign tours. The expenses were borne by the government treasury for three years,’’ he said, addressing in Savarkundla town of Amreli. “In the time of inflation and economic crisis, the government has paid for Sonia’s personal tours when she went to meet her mother,” he said. While Verma confirmed to TOI that he did file an RTI application on February 26, 2010, to the PMO, seeking details of expenditure on Gandhi’s foreign travels in the last 10 years, he clarified that he is yet to receive any information.
    “I had filed an RTI application seeking information about expenditure incurred on Gandhi’s foreign visits. When the PMO did not provide me information, I approached the Central Information Commissioner. CIC asked the PMO to provide the information but in vain. Later, the CIC also criticized the PMO for not providing information to me,” Verma said.
    “This year, I again filed a complaint to the CIC for compliance of its orders. However, I have not been provided any information,” he added. “When I did not receive any information from the PMO, how can I provide it to any newspaper?” “I don’t know about the media report, which is being quoted by Modi.”
    Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to address an election rally on Race Course Ground in Rajkot on Wednesday.
‘Will apologize if wrong’ Ahmedabad: As the news of RTI activist rejecting his claims spread, Narendra Modi toned down his attack on Sonia Gandhi late on Monday night. “I am willing to apologize in public if the statements I made (about Sonia Gandhi’s foreign tours cost) are proved false,” Modi said, addressing a rally in Junagadh. He also sought to clarify that he did not intend to make any personal attack on anyone. “But, this a question of public money being wasted, which demands an answer,” he said. Congress attacks, calls allegation a falsehood New Delhi: The Congress on Monday dismissed as “falsehood” and “irresponsible” Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s allegation that Rs 1880 crore has been spent from the public exchequer on Sonia Gandhi’s foreign trips. Reminding the Gujarat chief minister of a complaint made by Congress MPs before the Chief Vigilance Commissioner about alleged scams worth Rs 1 lakh crore during Modi’s tenure, party spokesperson Manish Tewari said” those living in glass houses do not pelt stones on others”. He dared Modi to face a court-monitored investigation into these allegations. Tewari said at the AICC briefing that “it is only symptomatic of his (Modi’s) frustration.” Maintaining that he does not want to dignify any such utterance and “falsehood” by reacting to the comments of the Gujarat chief minister, Tewari said it was “extremely unfortunate that the people occupied responsible positions make such irresponsible” statements.” PTI