Ministers 'wasted' public money on foreign jaunts: Modhwadia

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Ahmedabad, Oct 17 (UNI) Leader of Opposition in Gujarat Legislative Assembly Arjun Modhwadia today alleged that two state ministers and a government official 'wasted' public money of about Rs 10 lakh on foreign trips between November and December 2004 on the pretext of 'Vibrant Gujarat'.

Mr Modhwadia, in a release here, said ''Chief Minister Narendra Modi's most favoured Minister of Education Anandiben Patel and Industries Minister Anilbhai Patel and a government officer had visited places like New York, Huston, San Francisco and Los Angeles from November 27, 2004 to December 5, 2004 in the name of 'Vibrant Gujarat'. Those trips had cost the public exchequer Rs 10 lakh.

''The trips were undertaken in violation of the rules of foreign tours and without prior permission of the Union Government,'' he said.

The Chief Minister, who talks of uprooting corruption from the public life, must first act against the members of his Council of Ministers, he said.

He further said in case of official foreign tours by Chief Minister, a minister or officer of any state government, prior permission of the Union External Affairs Ministry is essential and until such permission is accorded, no such foreign trip can be undertaken. However, both the ministers and the officer proceeded on their foreign trips in violation of this rule, he alleged.

Their foreign trips were unnecessary and they put a burden on the public exchequer, Mr Modhwadia said, adding, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India must investigate the expenditure incurred on the unauthorised official visits abroad by the three and initiate action against them to recover the ''wasted'' public money.

UNI

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