New Delhi, Oct 20: The Indian Express on Thursday reported how Team Anna member Kiran Bedi had been charging inflated travel expenses on NGOs and organisers which invite her for seminars or events.
An angry Kran Bedi replied, she used to save money on such trips and save the money for her NGO and not for herself.
Kiran tweeted: “Its very interesting to see how saving for CAUSES by choosing to travel economy makes a headline in a news paper!”
The report provided fodder to Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh who demanded that Kiran Bedi should come out with all the facts.
The Indian Express report claimed records of bills, invoices and copies of cheques with it show that Bedi, who is entitled to a rebate on Air India tickets as a gallantry award winner, pays discount fares but charges her host institutions the full fare. She has also, at times, claimed Business class fare while flying Economy, the report said.
The Indian Express report claimed it has 12 recorded examples of this, some of which date back to 2006 when Bedi was a serving IPS officer. Her last such travel for which an inflated invoice was sent was as recent as September 29.
The report said, reimbursement cheques for these fares were credited to India Vision Foundation, the NGO headed by Bedi.
Her chartered accountant Suresh Vyas said that what was being seen as a “mismatch” was actually a “saving” done by them — with Bedi spending less than what she was reimbursed for. Vyas said the money came in handy for travels for causes for which Bedi got no remuneration.
According to government guidelines dated February 2001, all gallantry award winners are entitled to 75 per cent discount on Economy class tickets on board Air India. Bedi was awarded the President's Medal for Gallantry in 1979. Her GA (gallantry award) number is 433.
The Indian Express report published the following details:
September 29, 2011: Bedi flew Delhi-Hyderabad on Air India (AI 560), then Hyderabad-Chennai (AI 546), in Economy class. The next day, she took a flight back to Delhi (AI 539).
Total fare paid: Rs 17,134. Invoice generated for: Rs 73,117 (payment is pending).
While Bedi flew Delhi-Hyderabad, onward to Chennai and back to Delhi, the fares being claimed are for Delhi-Hyderabad-Delhi (Economy) and Delhi-Chennai-Delhi (Business class).
May 30, 2011: Flew Delhi-Pune on Kingfisher (IT 150), and returned from Mumbai on Jet Airways (9W 2049) the next day.
Total fare paid: Rs 12,458. Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 26,386.
Charities Aid Foundation India paid, HDFC Bank cheque.
November 25, 2010: Flew Delhi-Mumbai on Jet (9W 2205), returned on Air India's IC 168 the next day.
Total fare paid: Rs 14,097. Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 42,109.
First National Montessori Conference paid, SBI cheque.
March 6, 2009: Flew Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi (IC 688, IC 605).
Total fare paid: Rs 12,483. Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 32,495.
Mumbai-based Novartis India Ltd paid for Business class fare, Citibank cheque.
December 5, 2008: Flew Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi (IC 688, IC 888).
Total fare paid: Rs 12,614. Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 31,387.
March 24, 2007: Then a serving official, Bedi flew Delhi-Bangalore (IC 506); returned the next day on IC 804.
Total amount paid: Rs 9,625. Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 29,872.
Indus Trust International School paid, UTI Bank Ltd cheque.
March 8, 2007: Flew Delhi-Hyderabad-Delhi (IC 940, IC 840).
Total amount paid: Rs 8,331. Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 25,163.
Andhra Pradesh Secretariat Women Employees' Welfare Association paid, State Bank of Hyderabad cheque.
November 21, 2006: Flew Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi (IC 657, IC 166).
Total fare paid: Rs 6,689. Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 30,084.
Lehman Brothers Services India Pvt Ld paid for Business class fare, HSBC Ltd cheque.
October 14, 2006: Flew Delhi-Mumbai (IC 602), returned the day after (IC 658).
Total fare paid: Rs 6,691. Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 30,085.
Sahara India Commercial paid, Bank of Rajasthan cheque.
October 10, 2006: Flew Delhi-Mumbai (IC 887), took IC 806 back the next day.
Total fare paid: Rs 6,689. Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 21,098.
Miditech Private paid, Canara Bank cheque.
May 21, 2006: Flew Delhi-Mumbai-Delhi Economy class (IC 657, IC 658).
Total fare paid: Rs 5,733. Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 29,181.
Mumbai-based Dhirubhai Ambani School paid for Business class, ICICI Bank cheque.
May 12, 2006: Flew Delhi-Mumbai (IC 863), took IC 866 back on May 14.
Total fare paid: Rs 5,733.Bill submitted for/amount received: Rs 18,085.
Social Legal Information Centre paid, via SBI draft.
Kiran Bedi's chartered accountant Suresh Vyas said: What appears as a mismatch is actually a saving for the foundation. This is how the travel money is saved with information to the invitee by economising the expenses so that the same is used for travel where invitees for causes of the foundation do not offer travel cost but are valuable to visit.”
Kiran Bedi said: “We follow transparent methods of functioning and volunteer to be questioned or audited. Every penny in our work is accounted for and is for the facilitation of causes we espouse... We have been very conscientious of trust and responsibility... And hence punctual and meticulous in our systems.”