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RTI on MP CM’s foreign trip: Rs 1.39 crore spent, child specialist as personal physician

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New Delhi: A nine-member delegation led by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan spent Rs 1.39 crore (nearly $210,000) on a nine-day trip to Japan and South Korea between September 29 and October 7, which also included giving gifts to investors and political leaders, the reply to an RTI (Right to Information) query has revealed.

Interestingly, the documents also reveal that the chief minister’s office had requested the principal secretaries of the commerce as well as health and family welfare departments that R K Ray, a child specialist at Jai Prakash Chikitsalaya here, be given permission to travel as the chief minister’s personal physician.

The reply, received from the Madhya Pradesh Trade and Investment Facilitation Corporation Limited (TRIFAC) by activist Ajay Dubey in November, stated that gift items of Mrignayani MP Emporium and MP Laghu Udyog Nigam Limited, both owned by the state government, were carried for distribution to political leaders/VIPs/investors/ delegates during an interactive session in Tokyo chaired by the chief minister. These gifts had no commercial value, according to a document accessed through the RTI reply.

The RTI reply revealed that Rs 18.50 lakh was spent on airfare for the trip, Rs 35 lakh on hotel charges (Rs 23 lakh in Japan and Rs 12 lakh in South Korea), Rs 20 lakh on local transportation (Rs 12 lakh in Japan and Rs 8 lakh in South Korea) and Rs 5.50 lakh on daily allowance (Rs 3.50 lakh in Japan and Rs 2 lakh in South Korea).

One of the documents showed that Rs 10,13,740 was approved for the interpreter.

The venues of meetings and sessions with investors, industry and companies cost Rs 40 lakh – including the cost of the interpreter – with Rs 25 lakh spent in Japan and Rs 15 lakh in South Korea. This apart, Rs 20 lakh was spent on promotional material and goods (Rs 12.50 lakh in Japan and Rs 7.50 lakh in South Korea).

During the trip, Rs 76 lakh was spent in Japan and Rs 44.50 lakh in South Korea (not counting the airfare).

“At a time when the farmers are committing suicide in the state due to drought, the CM is making foreign trips. Moreover, when it comes to investment, Madhya Pradesh doesn’t come in the priority list of Japan and South Korea among the other states in India,” Dubey said.

Among the others who travelled with the chief minister were Yashodhara Raje Scindia, the minister for commerce, industry and employment; Mohammed Suleman, principal secretary in Scindia’s ministry; S K Mishra, the minister’s principal secretary; Hari Rajan Rao, the minister’s secretary; D P Ahuja, the TRIFAC managing director; Kumar Purushottam, managing director of the Madhya Pradesh Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigam Limited; a state representative of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and a representative of Ernst & Young, Bhopal.

This is the second time this year that Chouhan’s foreign trip has raised eyebrows.

In August, the reply to an RTI plea by Dubey revealed that an eight-member delegation led by 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,

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-eight people associated with the Vyapam scam have died – mostly under mysterious circumstances. Following the chain of deaths, the Supreme Court in July directed the CBI to investigate not just the Vyapam scam but also the deaths related to it.

The most recent death was of an Indian Forest Service officer, Vijay Bahadur Singh, whose body was found close to a railway track near Odisha’s Belpahad station on October 15. He was travelling by the Puri-Jodhpur Express. The CBI has started probing this death as well.

(IANS)

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Was Taj Mahal Once a Shiva Temple? The Debate over the Tomb Continues

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king

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Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal. Wikimedia

New Delhi, August 16, 2017: The famous monument from the Mughal era, Taj Mahal is once more in contention as the Central Information Commission (CIC) has requested the Central government to clear up unequivocally whether it is a tomb or a Shiva Temple. An RTI came to the CIC regarding the same, in response to which the quasi-constitutional body solicited answers from the culture minister.

But where did this question come from and what is the source?

According to some historians, Taj Mahal was incipiently a Shiva Temple offered to the Mughals as a form of the gift by a Rajput king. The hypothesis says that the temple was later formed into the monument that dwells graves of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his adored wife Mumtaz Mahal, mentioned IndiaNews.

Also Read: Firozabad Glass Industry is Declining: Is Taj Mahal to be Blamed? 

In 2015, a case was recorded in Agra by six lawyers, requesting that the tomb ought to be given over to Hindus for worship. The litigation solicited to forbid Islamic religious actions performed in the monument and remove the graves.

PN Oak, a revisionist historian also made the claim in his 1989  book “Taj Mahal” that the name Taj Mahal was procured from a Sanskrit word “Tejo Mahalay’ meaning a Shiva Temple.

The Cultural Minister Mahesh Sharma denied the claims in response to the question put forward to him that the Seventh wonder of the world was a Shiva Temple.


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MP Manoj Tiwari misbehaves with School Teacher but kneels before Bollywood Actress

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BJP
Manoj Tiwari. Wikimedia
  • Manoj Tiwari is the BJP MP who came in media highlights for his verbal assault on a teacher
  • The MP who was invited to a cultural event in UP celebrating the birth anniversary of Munshi Premchand
  • However, he did take out time to meet some of his friends from Bollywood

August 2, 2017: “You do not have manners to speak to an MP?” (Translated) were BJP MP Manoj Tiwari’s words to a primary school teacher, enraged at her for requesting him to sing at a school function in the presence of CCTV cameras. Continuing his rant, he had asked the teacher to get off the stage and probed all present officers to take an action against her. Tiwari later received a lot of flak for the video, which had surfaced in May this year.

However, when Bollywood actors Shahrukh Khan and Anushka Sharma reached Varaṇasi on July 31 to promote their upcoming movie ‘Harry Met Sejal’, the BJP MP was the first in line to join them for the promotions.

Also Read: Ram Temple at Ayodhya is a part of the BJP Agenda, says Amit Shah

Tiwari was not only gracious enough to host the event for the actors but also very willingly knelt on his knees throughout the event to perform songs for Anushka. The highlight of the event was when he sang a Bhojpuri song while the crowd rejoiced during the promotional event held at a private institute.

Need we remind you, this is the same BJP MP who had misbehaved with a female teacher over her request to sing at a school function.

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If this wasn’t news enough, the MP who recognizes himself as his ‘people’s person’ got so involved with the stars that he failed to interact with locals on his visit to the PM’s Parliamentary constituency. Tiwari chose to be associated with such an event while the people of Varanasi were expecting a discussion for the development of the constituency from him, given his contacts and his high-profile image.

However, what further hurt the sentiments of the people of UP was not the enthusiasm the MP showed for the promotion of a film he is not associated with whatsoever, but his willingness to forego a cultural event scheduled at village Lamhi.

The President of the Delhi unit of BJP failed to fulfill a political commitment of attending a cultural event scheduled at village Lamhi to celebrate the birth anniversary of Munshi Premchand.

So much for being an artist, we’d say!

While these developments may not gather national attention, the people of Varanasi are sure to hold Tiwari accountable for his involvement in such foolish and murky dealings.

– prepared by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter: @SohaKala

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25 Transfers in 13 Years : ‘KBC Wali Madam’ Turns ‘Transfer Wali Madam’

Amita Singh Tomar, the now-harassed woman officer, has no corruption charges against her

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KBC
Big B launch of tv show kaun banega crorepati season 7. Wikimedia

Bhopal, July 16, 2017: Conventionally, the average duration of a government officer’s stay in a posting has been around three years. But here is a woman officer who has been transferred 25 times in 13 years, that too without being assigned any reason for her being frequently shifted.

Amita Singh Tomar, the now-harassed woman officer, has no corruption charges against her.

The keen-watchers of the TV quiz show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati’ (KBC) might recall the way Bollywood super star Amitabh Bachchan was impressed with her as she went on answering the questions to win Rs 50 lakh in 2011.

Posted as Tehsildar in Biaora in Madhya Pradesh’s Rajgarh district, Tomar has now been transferred to Sidhi district.

Upset with the decision of the Shivraj Singh Chouhan government, she tweeted: “This is my 25th transfer in 13 years of my career. Whenever I got transferred, I was sent 500 km away.”

Tomar told IANS on Friday that when applications were sought for transfer, she had opted for a transfer to the Gwalior-Chambal division, but she had been transferred to Sidhi instead.

She has now written to senior state officials and even approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi through Twitter to apprise him of her ordeal.

“I won Rs 50 lakh in the TV quiz show ‘Kaun Banega Crorepati (KBC)’ in 2011 and the people then began to recognise me as ‘KBC Wali Madam’. But now I am known as ‘Transfer Wali Madam’ because of constant transfers,” she said.

Incidentally, Tomar has hit the headlines in the past as well, for reasons other than her frequent transfers.

During her posting in Raoti in Ratlam district in June 2016, she had written in Facebook: “When Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Afghanistan then the people there carrying the Indian national flag in their hands raised slogans of ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ and ‘Vande Mataram’.”

In the next lines, the woman officer requested PM Modi to launch a “Rajiv Gandhi Suicide Plan”, so that the Congressmen and those following secular ideology could commit suicide after reading such reports.

A controversy had then erupted over her Facebook post, following which she was transferred to Rajgarh district. (IANS)