The Ministry of External Affairs has been directed by the Central Information Commission to disclose the amount of money spent on Air India aircraft for the Prime Minister’s foreign visits from 2013 to 2017.
According to a report in news agency PTI, the ministry had earlier told the commission that details of the amount, reference numbers, dates of bills and other particulars related to the PM’s trips were scattered across various files adding that it will require a lot of manpower and time to collect the data.
The Chief Information Commissioner R K Mathur rejected the contention of the ministry that when the dues will be cleared, the officials would have to collect the related data eventually.
“In view of this, the Commission is of the opinion that the respondent [MEA] should provide to the appellant travel bills relating to Air India from FYs [financial years] 2013-14 to 2016-17,” PTI quoted Mathur as saying said.
The case pertains to a petition by retired naval officer Lokesh Batra, who had sought to know the details under the Right to Information Act. Batra had approached the commission after the ministry did not give him sufficient information.
(With PTI inputs)