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PMO rebuttal on Sonia expenses

New Delhi, Oct. 5 (PTI): The Prime Minister’s Office today termed “untrue and misleading” the claim that Rs 1,880 crore was spent on Sonia Gandhi’s overseas visits and treatment, without naming Narendra Modi.

Manmohan Singh’s office asserted the government had spent no money on Sonia’s foreign trips or treatment, whether abroad or in India.

“Media reports quoting certain quarters about massive expenses from the exchequer on the UPA chairperson’s overseas visits have been brought to the notice of the Prime Minister’s Office. The reports quoting an expense of Rs 1,880 crore are untrue and misleading,” the PMO said in a statement.

Modi had made the claim citing an RTI reply, but the applicant from Haryana had denied receiving an answer and said the figure quoted by the BJP leader was wrong.

“The Prime Minister’s Office would like to put on record that the government has incurred no expenses on the UPA chairperson’s visits abroad. The expenses on her security contingent are borne by the Special Protection Group,” the statement said.

The PMO said in the past eight years, only one trip to Belgium, at the invitation of the Belgian government to receive a national honour, was paid for by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The total cost was below Rs 3 lakh.

Late tonight, Modi claimed RTI replies from Indian embassies suggested “lakhs”, not just Rs 3 lakh, were spent on Sonia’s visits. “The Prime Minister is misguiding the country,” he told a campaign rally in Jamnagar.