Amid mounting criticism for charging her hosts business class fare while travelling economy, Team Anna member Kiran Bedi on Monday said the trustees of her NGO had advised the travel agent to return the balance money to the organisers.
“Foundation [India Vision Foundation] trustees have passed a resolution directing me to travel strictly as per invite. This leaves no room for discretion,'' she tweeted before leaving for Mumbai.
She further added that the trustees had instructed the travel agent to return the balance amount to the hosts.
The India Vision Foundation is an NGO run by Ms. Bedi.
Ms. Bedi reportedly told PTI that the trustees, including ad man Prahlad Kakkar, Lavlin Thadani, Sunil Nanda, Pradeep Halwasiya and Amarjit Singh, felt this was not the way to save money.
The travel agency run by Anil Bal, who was also a trustee of the Foundation, was handling the travel account and had been asked to return the money which was lying in the travel account.
As the controversy raged, several prominent figures spoke out against Ms. Bedi's action. While the former Chief Justice of India, J.S. Verma, questioned her action and termed it “unacceptable,” Congress leader Digvijay Singh said Team Anna members needed to look “inwards'' rather than point fingers at politicians. “This means if the corrupt people return money, they will also be absolved of their crimes. Then why has A. Raja been kept in jail. Mr. Raja also returns money and comes out,'' he asked.
Member of the drafting committee on Lokpal Bill Santosh Hegde also raised the issue of propriety and misconduct if the hosts were unaware of the arrangement.
Earlier, Ms. Bedi said that there was an understanding with the hosts wherein they would write out a cheque for business class fare for her travel, leaving it to her NGO to make her travel plans.
She claimed there was no personal gain for her and she was saving money in this manner for causes where hosts were unable to bear travel charges.