27 Jan, 2017: Delhi Government’s ministers and bureaucrats are now under Comptroller and Auditor General’s (CAG) scanner for foreign trips made by Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)’s leaders and a report of the same is being sought.
CAG office has also asked the “purpose of the visit” and “cost to the government exchequer” and asked for explanations on how the trip was fruitful in terms of the “development” and “governance” in the city and whether Lieutenant Governor’s permission was taken before the trips.
In the last year and half, Aam Aadmi Party ministers have made 10 foreign trips, with Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alone making six foreign trips, with just three of them costing Rs. 30.73 lacs as quoted by sources to DNA.
The Delhi Deputy Chief Minister went to Sao Paulo from August 11 to August 15, 2015, to attend a one-day conference, but spent two days in Rio de Janeiro before the conference and then took a two-day break after the conference to visit the Igiazu falls and Argentina.
Sources said the issue of foreign trips came under public scrutiny last year after when the first dengue death was reported in the capital. Many Delhi ministers were gone missing from the capital when dengue and chikunguniya were at their peak in the national capital region.
Sisodia also went to Berlin to attend the German Habitat Forum, but extended his trip to visit Amsterdam and Paris as well.
Similarly, health minister Satyendra Jain made the maximum trips in a year – three — incurring an expenditure of Rs 18 lakh. Jain also accompanied Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to Rome for two days for the canonization of Mother Teresa from September 3 to September 5, 2016, at a cost of Rs 13.5 lakh.
In October 2015, a 10-member delegation of AAP, including ministers Gopal Rai and Jain, visited Sweden. The vice-chairman of Delhi Dialogue Commission, Ashish Khetan, also went to Manchester in United Kingdom in March, 2016, with Jain.
Najeeb Jung had earlier directed the state government’s General Administration Department to furnish details about foreign visits by ministers, their personal staff and other officials to carry out an inquiry.