An RTI query has revealed that Delhi legislator Vipin Sharma, who belongs to the Congress, claimed Rs. 1.32 crore as medical reimbursements in his current term in the fourth Delhi Assembly.
The information was provided by Delhi Assembly secretariat in response to a right to information (RTI) application filed by activist Subhash Aggarwal on details of medical and travel expenses claimed by Delhi MLAs between 2008 and 2013.
An MLA from Rohtas Nagar assembly constituency, Sharma had been hospitalised for more than seven months in 2009. “I was seriously ill and had to go to London for treatment. I stayed there for almost seven months. That’s why my medical expenses ran into such a high amount,” Sharma told Hindustan Times.
The legislators are entitled to free medical treatment and free accommodation in all government-run hospitals and other hospitals on panel or on referral declared as such by the government in accordance with the medical attendance rules and the Delhi Government Employees Health Scheme (DGEHS).
Other MLAs who were the major claimants of medical reimbursements include Bharat Singh, an independent MLA from Najafgarh, and BJP MLA from Hari Nagar Harsharan Singh Balli, who claimed Rs. 27.5 lakh and Rs. 17.4 lakh respectively.
BJP MLA OP Babber made the lowest claim of Rs. 8,182 in five years followed by Congress MLA from Kalkaji Subhash Chopra, who claimed Rs. 9,848, and BJP MLA from Rohini Jai Bhagwan Aggarwal, who claimed only Rs. 15,121.
The travel bills of some of the MLAs also reveal some interesting statistics. According to the RTI reply, BJP MLA from Shakur Basti Shyam Lal Garg made a total claim of Rs. 3.87 lakh as travel expenditure in the past five years while Congress MLA from Rajouri Garden A Dayanand Chandila made modest claim of Rs 17,682 during the period. Delhi Assembly speaker Yoganand Shastri also claimed just Rs. 27,606 in five years.
According to the rules, MLAs are entitled to reimbursement of actual expenditure up to Rs. 50,000 annually on travel within India for themselves and members of their family.