Records on PM's foreign travels sought

CIC rejects MEA's claim that huge manpower is required collate all records.

New Delhi: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the external affairs ministry to disclose records related to the expenses incurred on chartering Air India aircraft for abroad visits of the Prime Minister from 2013 to 2017.

Chief Information Commissioner R.K. Mathur rejected the contention of the ministry that details of the amount, reference numbers, dates of bills raised by IAF and AI for the foreign visits undertaken by Modi are scattered across various records and files and collation of information in the manner sought by the appellant would involve searching of voluminous records by a significant number of officials. The case pertains to a plea by Commodore Lokesh Batra (Retd).

During the hearing, Batra said he was provided incomplete information by the ministry after which he approached the Commission which is the top appellate authority in matters pertaining to the Right to Information Act.

He said he wanted the general public to be informed at what stage or with which public authority these bills and invoices are pending for payment.

“Air India is a cash-strapped airline. Therefore, delay in settling these bills would also include sizable interest figure(s), which needs to be paid at the expense of tax payers’ money,” Mr Batra said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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