New Delhi: Facing flak over allegations that she overcharged organisations by inflating travel bills, key team Anna member Kiran Bedi, Monday, said that she would from now travel only ‘as per invite’ and that her NGO India Vision Foundation would return money to
those organisations from which more money was taken..
Bedi was accused of availing discounts on air tickets using her gallantry medal and then overcharged those who invited her to deliver lectures.
In her defence, the former top cop has said that she did not personally benefit from this and that the money thus saved went to India Vision Foundation, the NGO run by her, and was used for social work.
However, apparently concerned about the negative implications of the controversy, especially after former CJI JS Verma slammed her over the issue, the trustees of the India Vision Foundation decided to discontinue the practice of charging organisations more than what was being spent by Bedi on air travel.
"Trustees (of the Foundation) have instructed the travel
agent to return the balance amounts forthwith. They have
already passed resolution directing me to travel strictly as
per invite. This leaves no room for discretion," she said.
She said travel agent Anil Bal, who is also a trustee of
the Foundation, was handling the travel account and has been
asked to return the money. Bal's agency was handling the
travel assignments of Bedi.
The Trustees, including adman Prahlad Kakkar, Laveleen
Thadani, Achal Paul, Pradeep Halwasiya, Amarjit Singh and
Sunil Nanda, were of the view that she need not save money for
the NGO in this way, she said.
"I never handled this money. The agency issued the
receipts and received the money. So the Trustees have asked
the agency to return the money which is lying in the travel
account," she said.
Later she tweeted: “On my way to Bombay for a worthy cause. Travelling as per the decision of the foundation.”
Justice Verma had termed as "unacceptable" the claiming of money which was not actually spent, Verma said, "I am surprised. Why did she, a good officer, do that? The justification also came as a surprise.”
"It is more upsetting that the act itself...You commit a wrong and make it worse by a justification which is more interesting," he said.
He said everybody makes a mistake and what you have to do is to you can try and rectify the mistakes. "Realise that you made mistake, accept it and try and make amends," he added.
First Published: Monday, October 24, 2011, 12:27