Kiran Bedi, one of the most vocal members of Team Anna, who riled Members of Parliament with her Ramlila ghoonghat act, may herself have some explaining to do. The issue: the inflated travel expenses she has been charging NGOs and institutions which invite her for seminars or meetings.
Records of bills, invoices and copies of cheques with The Indian Express 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 Indian Express 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.
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.
Ads by Google Flights to London KWD201 Fly return to London from KWD 201 with BA.com. Book by 13th Novwww.britishairways.cQatar Airways World's 5-star airline.We cover the world with over 100 Destinationsqatarairways.com/kwJoin Club Mahindra Today 7 Days Of Holidays, Every Year For Next 25 Yrs. Sign Up Now & Enjoy.ClubMahindra.com/FunAccording 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.
Consider these instances:
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
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.
BEDI’S CA SURESH VYAS: IT’S ACTUALLY A SAVING
“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.”
BEDI: WE’RE TRANSPARENT, READY TO BE AUDITED
“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.”