Thursday, October 19, 2017

Who Paid for Modi’s Chartered Flights as CM, Asks Congress (But Won’t Say Who Foots Its Own Bills)

New Delhi: Hitting back at the BJP a day after the ruling party accused Sonia Gandhi’s son-in-law of flying to Switzerland on business class tickets provided by an absconding arms dealer, the Congress on Wednesday questioned the 100-odd chartered flights – both in the country and abroad – Prime Minister Narendra Modi took while he was chief minister of Gujarat, seeking to know who paid for these trips.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the estimated cost of this air travel was around Rs 16.56 crore and asked who had paid for this. He provided documents about Modi’s travels between 2003 and 2007 accessed through RTI applications by Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia.

Hinting that some corporate houses had sponsored Modi’s trips, Singhvi said that according to the RTI, Modi travelled to Switzerland (July 1, 2007), South Korea (June 16, 2007), Japan (April 15, 2007) and China (November 1, 2006) with some well-known industrialists and business tycoons.
“The nation wants to know, we want to know, as to who paid for these chartered plane travels by Modi. No information has been furnished till date in response to an RTI query made in 2007,” Singhvi said.

Singhvi’s charge was the latest instalment in the ‘parivar war’ the Congress and BJP have been waging against each other ever since The Wire‘s story last week on the business affairs of BJP president Amit Shah’s son, Jay Shah.

However, as a Cobrapost investigation in December 2014 revealed, the Congress may not be best placed to demand such transparency from Modi and the BJP when its own leaders have made ample use of private chartered flights and been less than transparent about the payments involved. After providing exhaustive details of politicians from the Congress, BJP and other parties who had used private charter flights for campaigning and other purposes, Cobrapost said it:
19/10/17 Arun Kumar/The Wire