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Madhya Pradesh CM spent Rs 3 crore on five-day US trip: RTI reply

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New Delhi: An eight-member delegation led by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan spent close to Rs.3 crore ($465,000/$58,000 per head) on a five-day US trip in February, which included giving expensive gifts to investors, the reply to an RTI query has revealed.

320px-Shivraj_Singh_ChauhanThe reply, received from the Madhya Pradesh Trade and Investment Facilitation Corporation Limited by whistle blower Ajay Dubey in July, revealed that on its visit to the US to meet American business leaders and potential investors, the delegation spent Rs.198,421 on gifts.

It also mentioned that 10 woollen shawls worth Rs.119,990 (Rs.11,999 each) were gifted to the guests, apart from ties and silver idols worth Rs.78,431. The visit was from January 31 to February 4 on the invitation of the US-India Business Council to meet business community leaders and investors.

The RTI reply also revealed that the expenditure for hotel rooms and air travel was Rs.30 lakh ($46,000) each ($5,750 per head), while Rs.25 lakh was spent on taxi rides, Rs.6 lakh went for daily perks and Rs.1.30 crore in rental for the ‘Friends of MP Conclave’ venue. Another Rs.75 lakh was spent on other promotional and miscellaneous charges. The total expenditure was Rs.2.96 crore over five days.

Among the others who accompanied the chief minister were Yashodhara Raje Scindia, the minister for commerce, industry and employment, Mohammed Suleman, principal secretary, department of commerce, industry & employment; S.K. Mishra, principal secretary to the chief minister; Vivek Aggarwal, secretary to the chief minister; Anupam Rajan, MD, of the MP Laghu Udyog Nigam Ltd. (MP Small Scale Industries Corporation); Manish Singh, MD, Madhya Pradesh Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigam (Indore) Limited; and Devhuti Bakshi of Ernst & Young.

“The chief minister was planning another foreign tour to Sweden recently, but this was cancelled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. To spend almost Rs.3 crore on a five-day tour to the US is huge. It is a lot of money for a state like Madhya Pradesh. Moreover, making a foreign tour to meet potential investors when Vyapam scam was at its peak is not acceptable,” Dubey said.

Madhya Pradesh has been mired in the Vyapam scam for years but the irregularities eventually came to light when 20 people were arrested in 2013 for impersonating candidates appearing for the 2009 medical entrance examination.

Forty-five people associated with the Vyapam scam have died – mostly unnaturally or under mysterious circumstances.

The CBI has already registered 67 FIRs and launched 12 preliminary inquiries into the Vyapam scam.

(IANS)

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As A Mark of Respect To Karunanidhi, Parliament Gets Adjourned

"In his passing away, the country has lost an able administrator and an outstanding statesman. The House deeply mourns his death."

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Parliament House of India
Parliament Gets Adjourned As A sign Of Respect (Wikimedia Commons)

Both Houses of Parliament were adjourned for the day without transacting any business on Wednesday as a mark of respect to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK leader M. Karunanidhi who died in Chennai on Tuesday.

The presiding officers of the two Houses made obituary references and paid homage to the 94-year-old political stalwart.

Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan described him as a visionary and a true leader of the masses and said his death “is an irreparable loss to the country and marks the end of an era”.

The members stood in silence for a short while.

A 2 Minute Silence Was Observed For Him. Flickr
A 2 Minute Silence Was Observed For M. Karunanidhi, After His Passing On Tuedsay. Flickr

In the obituary reference, Mahajan said Karunanidhi, an astute administrator, in his “long and illustrious political career” showcased his “admirable leadership qualities and worked relentlessly for the cause of the people, particularly the marginalised and the downtrodden sections of the society.

“A multifaceted persona, Karunanidhi rose to become the most celebrated screenwriter in the Tamil film industry, using the cinematic medium to deliver his political ideas to the masses. The 1952 box office hit ‘Parasakthi’, in particular, was a turning point both in Tamil cinema and for Karunanidhi,” she said.

In the Rajya Sabha, Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu said Karunanidhi was actively engaged in social and public life.

Also Read: TTD gets Dubbing Rights For Karunanidhi’s Ramanujar Serial

“In his passing away, the country has lost an able administrator and an outstanding statesman. The House deeply mourns his death,” Naidu said.

The House observed two minutes of silence before adjourning for the day. (IANS)

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