A surprising RTI response has revealed that former President of India Pratibha Patil undertook her last foreign trip with her grandchildren to South Africa and Seychelles just on a 'telegraphic invitation', which too was supersonically shredded and burnt by Central Cipher Bureau without having a record.
THIS IS surprising that telegrams are still used as a means of communication. But more surprising is the revelation that important foreign communications based on which India’s former President undertook a costly foreign-tour was not preserved.
But more important is the fact that just a telegraphic invitation is enough for Head of world’s largest democracy to undertake a foreign tour cancelling all previous engagements and appointments.
All this creates suspicion on planning of such a trip, especially at a time when Pratibha Patil courted enough controversy on super-princely expense of Rs 205 crores on her earlier foreign trips prior to her last Presidential trip to South Africa and Seychelles where her family members and friends enjoyed all leisure and pleasure at public-expense in the name of grossly misused ‘tradition’.
Such misuse of public money during Patil’s tenure as President of India makes it necessary that family members of high dignitaries including even President of India entitled to enjoy facilities and privileges may be defined with only spouse of such dignitaries allowed to accompany the dignitary on tours at public-expense. Even post-retirement facilities for such dignitaries should be curtailed at the US pattern where a retired President is entitled only for half of last drawn salary without any princely government bungalows and other facilities.
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