Having large families does not pay, not at least if you are an MLA seeking reimbursement of medical bills.
Members of Legislative Assembly and Council are entitled to reimbursement of medical bills of themselves and of their spouse. But according to information obtained by RTI activist Chetan Kothari, two former MLAs — Dagdu Sakpal and Shaikh Rashid — had to pay back the hefty amounts they had claimed, because both have more than three children.
According to the information provided by legislature secretariat, Rashid, former MLA from Malegaon, had received Rs 1,47,569 in reimbursement of medical bills.
But when a high-powered committed scrutinised his case afresh, it decided that he was not qualified to get this money because he had seven children. Rules say that those who have more than three children (born after 1968) cannot get any medical benefits.
Similarly, Sakpal, former Shiv Sena MLA, had received Rs 1,13,848 and Rs 1,83,259 for his and his wife’s medical treatment, respectively. But the committee held that he must return the money as they have five children.
Both the MLAs paid the money back, according to the information.
A PIL had been filed by city-based Janhit Manch two years ago, alleging that MLAs and MLCs were taking reimbursement on the basis of bogus or fraudulent bills.
Following which, a committee, comprising then chairman of council and speaker of the assembly, was set up to review the reimbursements since 2004.
According to the information given to Mr. Kothari, a total of Rs 42,22,488 have been recovered so far and Rs 20,82,285 are yet to be recovered, as wrongly claimed reimbursement.
Congress MLA Ramesh Choudhary had claimed a whopping Rs 20,09,657, by submitting 41 bills. But after the committee held that most of the bills were sanctioned wrongly, he repaid the entire amount.