Former chief minister (CM) Suresh Mehta and former home minister Gordhan Zadaphia, apart from activists, have stepped up efforts to find out with whose permission the state government released money for CM Narendra Modi’s harmony mission.
A public interest petition has been filed in the Gujarat high court, seeking the recovery of the money spent on Modi’s three-day sadbhavna cause.
Ahmedabad-based voluntary organisation Vikalp has moved court, stating the money, said to be Rs 60 crore, must be recovered because the function was to project Modi as the PM candidate and not to promote harmony.
“It was a function for the chief minister himself or the BJP because its national leaders attended it. Therefore, the money spent from the public treasury should be recovered from the chief minister or his party,” petitioner Himanshu Banker said.
Besides this, a number of applications under the RTI Act have been filed in the state finance and information department, seeking details of the expenditure made for the occasion.
Sources said full-page advertisements with the chief minister’s photograph were issued by the state information department in more than 100 publications including major dailies and magazines and a large number of Urdu publications in other states.
“This is for the first time that the Gujarat government advertisement was issued in such a large number of Urdu publications,” an official of the state information department said.
Former BJP leader Zadaphia, who is now president of the Maha Gujarat Janta Party (MJP), urged the governor to seek details of expenditure from the chief secretary.
Mehta, who too has split from the BJP, has written to the chief secretary, asking him for details of expenditure made and at whose instance the money was released.
When contacted, chief secretary AK Joti declined to share details of expenditure and said, “I cannot discuss the issue.”