The Manohar Lal Khattar government in Haryana spent Rs 3,79,500 to buy just 10 copies of the Bhagavad Gita during the International Gita Mahotsav in 2017, The Times of India reported on Tuesday. The Kurukshetra Development Board provided information about the purchase to Rahul Sehrawat, a resident of Hisar, in response to his Right to Information query.

The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Haryana gifted the copies of Bhagavad Gita to VVIPs, the RTI response said. The government also paid Rs 15 lakh to BJP MP and actor Hema Malini and Rs 10 lakh to Delhi BJP President Manoj Tiwari for their performances at the Gita Mahotsav in Kurukshetra.

Sehrawat alleged that the government spent Rs 15 crore on the event, but the Kurukshetra Development Board gave him details of only Rs 4.32 crore worth of expenses.

President Ram Nath Kovind had inaugurated the Gita Mahotsav on November 26, 2017. Union Minister Uma Bharti, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh chief Mohan Bhagwat and the governors of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh were among the many VVIPs who attended the event.

“The RTI information itself is sufficient to prove grave misuse of public money,” Indian National Lok Dal leader and Hisar MP Dushyant Chautala said. “I hope the chief minister [Manohar Lal Khattar] would conduct a fair inquiry into such misappropriation of public money”. He questioned the need to purchase copies of the Bhagavad Gita at over Rs 37,000 each when they could be bought for merely Rs 200.

However, Khattar told The Times of India that the money was spent “after much deliberation” within the state government and that they would continue to spend in this manner in the future too. “The money was spent on creating awareness in society and was needed in the larger interest of society,” Khattar claimed.