Gandhinagar: Even as the Congress has demanded an apology over his claims that Rs 1880 crore was spent from the public exchequer on Sonia Gandhi’s foreign trips, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday remained defiant and dared the ruling party to prove him wrong before seeking an apology.
Addressing a gathering in Gandhinagar, Modi lashed out at the Centre for not providing information on Congress president’s foreign trips, despite being sought under the Right to Information Act.
“Congress leaders pat themselves on their backs for having brought in the RTI Act to empower the common citizen but the government itself is not providing details under the same. Law says that the information should be given in three months but it has been more than 2.5 years now, why is that the information is not being provided?” Modi said.
“Doesn’t a citizen of the country have the right to know where government is spending public money?” he added.
“I read in a newspaper that Rs 1880 crore was spent on her treatment…. if you want to shut Modi up then the government should give details about the money spent on her foreign travels from 2004 to 2012. If the expenditure was made from the coffers of the government of India, then the details should be made public,” he added.
“This information came in July; I have taken up the issue in October, what were they doing for these months, why didn’t they rebut it all these months and if the news was wrong why did they not file a legal case?” he questioned the Congress.
Accusing some Congressmen of emotionalising the issue by referring to Sonia Gandhi’s illness, Modi said, “No one has asked about the illness of Madam Sonia Gandhi, the RTI plea was submitted 2.5 years ago and it was only recently that the nation came to know about her illness. In the name of humanity, I request Prime Minister to spend as much money as needed for the treatment of Sonia Gandhi.”
“I am not posing any question to Sonia Gandhi, I am only asking the Prime Minister about the money spend from the treasury of the government of India,” He added.
Yesterday, Modi had offered to tender a public apology if his allegation that Rs 1880 crore has been spent from the public exchequer on Sonia Gandhi’s foreign trips was proven wrong.
Modi said a response given by the government to an RTI application of a youth of Hisar in Harayana, published in a newspaper on July 12 this year, was the basis for his claim.
However, Ramesh Verma, the activist told a TV channel that the details that the Gujarat CM attributed to him were not true.
According to Verma, in June, the CIC, based on his appeal, had asked PMO to reveal expenses of Gandhi`s official tours. But those documents have not been shared with him till now, he added.
The Congress was quick to target Modi and dismissed his allegations as falsehood and irresponsible. “Time and again, he has attacked Congress leaders based on untruths and falsehood. You can`t expect a man with that mindset to apologise," Union minister Kapil Sibal was quoted as saying by a news channel.
However, with Modi daring the Congress to prove him wrong, the Congress is in a tight spot and is under pressure to reveal details about the cost incurred in foreign travels by the party president.