Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today claimed that not a single rupee meant for drought relief had been spent elsewhere, and the money sanctioned for a dance troupe came from a separate account created for the cultural purposes. The opposition recently cornered Fadnavis over sanctioning of Rs eight lakh from the Chief Minister’s relief fund for a dance troupe’s visit to Thailand.
“There are five accounts of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund with the nationalised banks. One of them is for drought, natural calamities like earthquakes and the Jalyukt Shivar (farm pond scheme) donations. There is an account meant for cultural programmes as well, for which Rs 60 crore have been reserved,” Fadnavis said, speaking at ‘India Today’ conclave.
“We do not give away even this money, lest we need money for some urgent purpose. But this time about 20 people came to me and said they cannot accept outside sponsorship as they are government employees and asked me to help them out. These people have won 20 awards in the last five years,” he said.
Hitting out at the opposition, he said, “All limits of lying have been crossed. But the lies have not stopped the people from donating money for drought. We received donations totalling Rs 2 crore the day this news was flashed.” The money from the CM’s Relief Fund is spent through the RTGS route and the accounts are presented in a transparent way at the end of the year, he said.
“The RTI activist whom we gave this information knew very well from where the money has been spent for the Thailand trip. But had he revealed that, it wouldn’t have become spicy enough to get him into news and make headlines,” Fadnavis said.
RTI query filed by Anil Galgali had found that Fadnavis approved Rs 8 lakh for a government employees’ dance troupe which is going to participate in a competition in Bangkok in December.