Now, trustee of Kiran Bedi `s NGO quits

Kiran Bedi found herself in fresh trouble as one of the founder members of her NGO who was managing her travels quit the group.

Last Updated: Oct 26, 2011, 00:11 AM IST

New Delhi: Kiran Bedi on Tuesday found herself in
fresh trouble as one of the founder members of her NGO who was
managing her travels quit the group washing his hands off the
controversy over inflating travel bills.

With attacks against Team Anna mounting, the Core
Committee will meet on Saturday during which the members are
expected to work out its strategy following controversies on
Prashant Bhushan`s remarks on Kashmir and alleged financial
misconduct of Arvind Kejriwal and Bedi.

The attendance of Hazare, who is on a `vow of silence`
now, in the crucial meeting is not confirmed with Team Anna
sources saying that he will attend only of he breaks his `maun
vrat`.
Though Kejriwal defended Bedi and questioned the
intentions of the government in passing the Lokpal bill,
Congress dismissed Hazare`s charges that those in the
government are behind the campaign against his team and
expressed hurt at the use of phrase "gang of four" in the
government by the Gandhian.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid, however, said there should
be no encouragement for discord between civil society and
government.

Trouble escalated for Bedi as Anil Bal, proprietor of
Flywell Travel and a trustee of India Vision Foundation run by
Bedi, quit the NGO alleging that her defence on overcharging
her hosts has conveyed a "wrong impression" that he was
responsible for inflated invoices after issuing cheaper
tickets.
Bedi is under fire for overcharging hosts by inflating
her travel bills by charging business class fares while going
by economy class. She defended herself saying she did not
personally benefit and that the money thus saved went to the
foundation.

Bal said in a statement that he found it "bizarre" the
resolution passed by trustees of the NGO that the travel agent
should refund the excess amount collected to Bedi`s hosts as
he has nothing to do with them.

Bal said his firm has no interaction with any of the
organisations for whom Bedi undertakes the travel and no
knowledge of the understanding they have with the Foundation.

"In view of what has happened which unnecessarily
tarnished my reputation I have decided to resign as trustee of
IVF with immediate effect and have also requested IVF to
engage another travel agent for their travel needs.

"Amount to the credit of IVF as on date in our records is
being refunded to IVF by crossed cheque to close the account
with us," he said in a statement here.

"Credit balance in the IVF account with us belongs to IVF
and can only be refunded to IVF and cannot be refunded to any
third party as we do not have transactions with these
parties," he said.

Bedi said that Bal`s statement itself showed that she
had not done anything wrong. "Wish he had said this a few days
ago. May be he could not do this then as he was out of the
country," she said.

He also claimed that the accounts of the travel agency
were audited on regular basis and that they have filed returns
with Income Tax and Service Tax authorities. "As of date there
is no demand from any of these authorities," he claimed.

Defending Bedi, Kejriwal dared the government to conduct
a probe against him and other Team Anna members even as he
questioned the motive behind the "smear campaign".

Kejriwal said, "If someone paid the ticket examiner in
Railway because he needed a ticket, so that person cannot
question Suresh Kalmadi? Is this the message being given out?

"Do you mean to say that out of 120 crore people, only
saints can question UPA`s corruption and government will keep
on robbing people? If anybody questions then that person will
be asked to look into his case first," he said and warned that
if the current smear campaign continues, the next movement
will be 10 times bigger.

PTIPTI