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RJD MP Umashankar claimed airfare to town without an airport

The incident was revealed in response to RTI applications filed with the Lok Sabha Secretariat.


n RJD MP has claimed from the Lok Sabha Secretariat airfare to visit his place of residence in Bihar's Siwan, a town that does not have an airport. The matter came to light in response to RTI applications filed with the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha to find out how much MPs have spent in the form of travel allowance (TA) and dearness allowance (DA) in a year.

The TA/DA bills of Umashankar Singh, RJD MP from Maharajganj in Bihar show that on 10 June 2009, he travelled from Delhi to Patna by train and from Patna to his residence in Siwan by air. Interestingly, the other details that are required to be furnished in a prescribed form were incomplete when it came to mode of travel. The form was signed by the MP.

Singh had left Siwan on 21 May 2009 by road for Patna and had taken a flight from Patna to Delhi the same day, in order to attend a Parliament session. The discrepancy cropped up in his return journey.

On 2 November 2009, the MP visited Delhi to attend a meeting of the parliamentary committee on empowerment of women, and returned after two days, but did not provide other details.

After the discrepancy was found, a letter was sent to Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, requesting an audit by the CAG to evaluate the claims made by MPs and money paid by the Parliament Secretariat.

"The reply received from the Secretariat shows a very casual attitude when it comes to payment for such claims. The discrepancies were attributed to oversight," said B.N.P. Singh, a retired wing commander and a resident of Greater Noida who filed the RTI.

When contacted, Umashankar Singh claimed that he did not take airfare for going to Siwan, but failed to provide evidence in this regard. "The documents are in Siwan," he said. But when his attention was drawn towards the MSA branch documents signed by him, he said, "I don't know what is written in those bills."

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