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'No idea where Modi got figure for Sonia's foreign trips'

By Vicky Nanjappa
October 01, 2012 22:50 IST
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RTI activist from Hisar says he may consider legal recourse against newspaper that quoted his application on the amount of money spent on Sonia Gandhi's foreign trips. Vicky Nanjappa reports.

My RTI application regarding Congress party president Sonia Gandhi's foreign trips have got no reply despite me filing applications twice, said, Right to Information activist, Ramesh Verma from Hisar.

Speaking to, Verma said that his application had been filed in February 2010 but he had not asked any question on the amount spent on Sonia Gandhi's treatment.

A controversy on the issue erupted after Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi, claimed that Rs 1,880 crore was spent by United Progressive Alliance Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi during her treatment abroad.

Modi had said that a large amount of money had been spent in a span of three years. "An amount of Rs 1,880 crore, almost Rs 2,000 crore, was spent. And I am not quoting media reports here. This has been revealed by an RTI plea," Modi had said.

"I had asked three questions in that application. I had sought to know how many trips Sonia Gandhi had made in the past ten years. The second question was how much was spent on these trips and on what capacity was she making these trips abroad. The third question was what use were these trips for the country," said Verma.

"I did not get any information following which I moved the Chief Information Commissioner. The CIC directed the Prime Minister's Office to furnish this information, but my file only moved around places but the information was never furnished. I have now filed another complaint stating that the information has not yet been furnished," added Verma.

On how he managed to get information that a sum of Rs 85 lakh was spent on her foreign trips, Verma informed that this was based on his contacts. He said that he had got this information from some of his contacts abroad. "However, at no point did I mention the sum of Rs 1,880 crore as mentioned by the Gujarat chief minister," Verma pointed out.

When asked how this figure of Rs 1,880 crore came about, Verma said, "Please ask Modiji about it as I have no idea. I do not even know how the newspaper quoted my RTI application and came to a conclusion regarding this figure. I am not planning on any legal action against the Gujarat chief minister for giving out wrong information in my name. However, I will think of a legal recourse once I get to read the newspaper which quoted my application."

Verma also added that he will continue to pursue his RTI application as the information that he is seeking is important. It is necessary that people are aware of the number of foreign trips the Congress party president has made and what relevance does it have to the nation. "Also, we need to know under what capacity she has made these trips. I am awaiting an order on my second complaint to the CIC," added Verma.
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