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CIC comes to the rescue of Sonia, says she paid her bills

Oct 03, 2012 09:28 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: In response to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's allegations of expenses on UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi's trips abroad, the Congress on Wednesday hit back with an order of the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC), which says no expenses were incurred by the government.

The order dated May 3 effectively put to rest Modi's questions and speculation as to who paid for Sonia's foreign travel and medical bills.

The CIC in its order stated, "From the submissions made by the respondents it was quite clear that neither any reimbursements for any such expenditure had been claimed by the individual concerned from these public authorities nor any expenditure made in this regard."

In its order, the CIC also said that the expenditure made by any individual on medical treatment in India or abroad is private information and hence cannot be brought under the ambit of RTI.

However, the order is only restricted to months of August and September 2011 and now the BJP is demanding all details of expenditure incurred on Sonia's illness.

BJP spokesperson Balbir Punj said, "We are not seeking details of expenses incurred on her medical condition. We are seeking details for her travel and expenses incurred thereof."

Some experts also argue that the information should be provided in totality if the government money has been spent.

"The government can simply say it doesn't have the information, but it will bode well in case of public figures if they reveal that it was not borne by government but privately," said former information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi.

The dust over who paid for Sonia Gandhi's medical travel may have cleared for now, but what isn't clear is whether it's Sonia or Modi who has emerged stronger from the latest war of words.