Puducherry: Puducherry lieutenant governor Kiran Bedi on Wednesday made an example of one particular minister who keeps visiting a foreign country frequently without taking the mandatory clearance of the Union government or giving intimation to the Union territory’s chief secretary or to her own office.
She didn’t name the minister.
She therefore laid down the law, in a WhatsApp message, that henceforth they have to willy nily do so undertaking foreign trips.
Bedi further said a few ministers have visited 'sensitive' countries without leaving any record with the Union territory’s administration. “All this now comes under due regulation and watch,” she added in the message.
She referred also to a visit to Singapore by chief minister V Narayanasamy and a team last November and said it remained to be finally settled "as statutory clearance under the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) was not obtained by the Chief Minister and his team."
The chief minister undertook a five-day trip to Singapore accompanied by industries minister M O H F Shah Jahan and the chairman of the government-owned Industries Development Corporation R Siva to ostensibly invite industrialists and investors to do business in Puducherry.
Upon returning to Puducherry, Narayanasamy claimed he did inform the Centre and had also obtained political clearance from the External Affairs Ministry before leaving.
The LT Governor, however, insisted she had not been kept informed of the chief minister’s visit to Singapore.
Narayanasamy kept saying at press conferences thereafter that it was a private visit and the purpose of it was to attract investors for the development of the union territory.
Bedi pointed out the contradiction of the chief minister first saying that it was a private visit and later saying it was a business trip for investments.
Bedi cited a circular from the government of India on rules relating to foreign trips by ministers. “None of us in the government can travel overseas without due clearances, and all departments and public officials concerned, elected or appointed, to take note of this," she said.