Notwithstanding controversy over expenditure on her foreign travels, former President Pratibha Patil ran up a bill of Rs. 18.08 crore on her last trip abroad shortly before demitting office, according to official information accessed through RTI.
The chartering of the Air India Boeing 747-400 jumbo for her two-nation trip to South Africa and Seychelles from April 29 to May 8 last year alone cost R16.38 crore, the airline said.
In addition, an expenditure of Rs. 1.46 crore was incurred in Pretoria.
It was revealed last year that Patil had incurred an expenditure of R205 crore on her 12 foreign trips covering 22 countries during her five-year term. These figures were provided before she undertook the last visit to South Africa and Seychelles.
The Rashtrapati Bhavan had then defended these visits terming them “necessary” to deepen bilateral cooperation. The visits were undertaken after careful appraisal and recommendation by the PMO and the ministry of external affairs.