The Central Information Commission has directed the Ministry of External Affairs to disclose the names of people who accompanied Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his trips to foreign countries, PTI reported on Tuesday.
Chief Information Commissioner RK Mathur was hearing a plea filed by Right to Information applicant Karabi Das, who had asked the ministry for details of expenses incurred on Modi’s foreign trips from 2015 to 2017 and a list of people who accompanied the prime minister.
The ministry reportedly did not send a satisfactory reply, prompting Das to seek the commission’s intervention. During the hearing, the ministry told Mathur that only the date, place of visit and expenses incurred on chartered flights used by Modi were on record.
“A list of private persons [not linked with security] who travelled with the prime minister of India at government expenditure should be provided to the appellant redacting names of other officials,” Mathur ordered.
Activist Subhash Agrawal, who represented Das at the hearing, said the ministry had asked the applicant to deposit Rs 224 as fee for the information. The ministry told the commission that it will look into this matter.
In January, a report said Mathur had asked the Prime Minister’s Office to disclose the identities of those who travel with Modi. He was hearing two separate cases where RTI applicants said they were not given proper answers to questions about the prime minister’s delegation on foreign trips.
In July, the Centre told the Rajya Sabha that it had spent Rs 1,484 crore since June 2014 on Modi’s visits to 84 countries. However, the cost of chartered flights for Modi’s visits in 2018-’19 and the expenditure on hotline facilities in 2017-’18 and 2018-’19 were not included. Modi has undertaken 42 foreign trips since he became the prime minister in May 2014.