Remaining defiant on his stand, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi today demanded that the government make public the expenditure incurred on Congress president Sonia Gandhi's foreign trips.
Modi offers apology if charges against Sonia's foreign trips proved wrong
Addressing a gathering of youths here, Modi said that information sought under RTI about expenditure on Sonia Gandhi's foreign trips three years ago has not yet been provided.
"Three years ago, a youth from Hissar had asked the government to provide information about Gandhi's foreign trips and expenditure incurred thereon under RTI. Under (RTI) law, information should be provided in three months...but three years have passed and why the information is not being provided...when attempt is made to hide things then one feels something is fishy," Modi further said. RTI activist rejects Modi's claim on Sonia bill
"I read in a newspaper that Rs. 1,880 crore was spent on Soniaji's foreign trips...nearly Rs. 2,000 crore, If you have to shut Modi's mouth, then make public details about Sonia Gandhi's foreign tours, from the time Manmohan Singh's government came to power in 2004, till now," Modi demanded.
"Under what arrangement she travelled....where did she stay....and if the expenditure...I have nothing to do with her personal life.... was borne by the national exchequer, then it is the right of people of this country that information about it should be made public," Modi said.
Modi had made the allegation about large expenditure on Gandhi's foreign trips yesterday and said it was based on a response given by the government to an RTI application of a youth from Hissar in Haryana that was published in a newspaper on July 12 this year.
However, the concerned youth Ramesh Sharma questioned the expenditure figures quoted by Modi and said he had not received any reply to his RTI query.
Later, Modi stated "I had said this thing based on a report in a newspaper. If my information is wrong, I will publicly accept the mistake."
"Yesterday, during a public meeting, I had raised a question based on a newspaper report, it created a political storm," Modi said.
"I am being threatened... if you are going to seek expenditure account, then a slew of serious allegations will be levelled against you.... they have already put CBI behind me... what else is left," Modi said.
"Should I cow down by such threats..should I feel nervous....should I run away....should I quit my fight for justice.... I am not seeking any reply from Soniaji, I am not asking a question against her...I am asking a question to Manmohan Singh's government that how much money was spent by the state exchequer.... this country wants to know," Modi further said.
"My Congress friends have got annoyed with me...my Congress friends, the news was published in July....I read the news item in the paper publicly in October....Why didn't you get time to reply to that newspaper report between July and October..and if the news item was wrong then why legal action was not initiated," Modi asked.
"None has asked about illness of Soniaji....her health issue came up this year only...these question were raised three years ago.. at that time none was aware about her health issues.
"So they should not make an emotional issue out of that.. I myself would tell to Prime Minister, that whatever expenditure is to be made on treatment of Soniaji's illness, the country will spend," Modi said.
Meanwhile, Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to launch Congress campaign for Gujarat assembly election at a rally in Rajkot on Wednesday.