Gandhinagar, Sep 27 (UNI) Gujarat Law Minister Ashok Bhatt today refuted state Opposition leader Arjun Modhwadia's allegation on Chief Minister Narendra Modi's frequent foreign trips and claimed that through foreign tours, Mr Modi had put Gujarat on international map of development.
Giving answer to Mr Modhwadia's allegation that foreign trips were a quid pro quo by the C M in granting concessions and incentives worth Rs 15,000 crore to various industrialists, and that Mr Modi was gaining publicity through his millionaire friends, Mr Bhatt said trips to countries like China, Japan, Korea and Switzerland proved to be a grand success, with industrialists and technocrates in those countries expressing their eagerness to make huge investments in various sectors of Gujarat.
''We are organising foreign trips with the sole purpose of showcasing Gujarat for international investment. We are doing it out in the open, not like previous Congress governments that had undertaken clandestine foreign trips,'' he said.
Countering the allegation that Mr Modi was gaining benefits worth crores of rupees from the corporate houses, the Minister said Mr Modi had donated all the personal gifts to the government's coffer and raised Rs 13.92 crore funds for girl child education.
Mr Modhwadia had alleged that prior to 2002, Mr Modi had rarely availed aircraft of corporate houses or chartered aircraft for foreign trips. However, after coming to power, the C M had gone to the extent of retaining the aircraft of industrial houses for his personal needs. Helicopters, aircraft and chartered aircraft of the corporate houses are on standby for Mr Modi for any foreign tour.
Mr Modi had made five trips during 2003, 16 trips during 2004, 24 trips during 2006 and 34 trips in just four months of 2007, that is from January 1 to May 10, using aircraft of the corporate houses.
Thus he had undertaken air journeys for 30 days during the first 130 days of the current year in aircraft owned by corporate houses, which did not include journeys he had undertaken by state helicopters within Gujarat, Mr Modhwadia claimed.