Bedi's 'misuse': Freebies for awardees may be reviewed | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Bedi's 'misuse': Freebies for awardees may be reviewed

delhi Updated: Oct 22, 2011 00:49 IST
Aloke Tikku

Team Anna member Kiran Bedi's alleged misuse of concessional airfare could lead to a review of the rules governing privileges to other gallantry award winners as well.

Government sources said the Centre will soon take a decision if it should go for a full-fledged review of the privileges extended to officers who receive the police medals for meritorious and distinguished services as well as gallantry.

A government official said the government could consider incorporating provisions that require recipients to declare that the concessions are being availed for their personal travels only.

"The idea behind extending the concessions was to make life easier for awardees, not save money for their private employers or non-governmental organisations," the official said.

The President's Police Medal for Gallantry entitles recipients to income tax exemption, a monthly allowance of Rs 1,500, a 75% discount on domestic travel in public sector airlines and First Class/II AC Sleeper rail travel along with companion.

Bedi recently landed herself in a controversy after allegations surfaced that she availed 75% concession on air travel extended to recipients of gallantry award but charged full air fare from organisations that invited her.

She hasn't denied the charge but explained that the money didn't go into her pocket but into the coffers of her non-governmental organisation that used its funds for public service.

Bedi, the country's first woman officer in the Indian Police Service, was awarded the gallantry medal in 1978 for dispersing a 100-strong group of Akali demonstrators. This was the only government award that she received in her career.

"This (misuse) is a question of moral turpitude. One has to think over it," said a senior home ministry official when asked if the government would take cognisance of the misuse.

"In the government, we may have to think over the privileges offered to gallantry award winners if the freebies are being misused. I think the time has come," the official said.