Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 18:
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has turned down an Odisha student’s RTI query on the cost incurred on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s wardrobe stating that the information sought is not a matter of record in the PMO.
The applicant, Rohit Kumar, is a third year Law student of Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KiiT) University in Odisha capital.
In his query, Rohit had sought information on the designer of PM’s wardrobe for foreign tours and expenses thereon. He had also wanted to know whether the expenses incurred on PM’s wardrobe were met out of government treasury.
Replying to the query under the Right to Information Act, the PMO said the information sought was not a matter of records of this office and no records are available with regard to the matter.
“It is your contention that the expenses on the Prime Minister’s wardrobe were met by the government, then the information sought might be held as part of government records. It is noted that the CPIO (Central Public Information Officer), PMO has clearly stated that no records are available,” the reply said.
“Given that where no records are available and existing with regard to the matter in hand in office, to contend that PMO should provide the information is not correct,” it said.
Rohit Kumar said the same stand was taken by the First Appellate Authority when he decided to appeal against the reply.
“My argument is that if the expenditure incurred on prime minister’s wardrobe is met out of the government’s treasury, then it must be the part of record since no government’s official should be permitted to dissipate the exchequer’s money without keeping proper records of it. It is mandatory to keep the records of the exchequer’s money,” he said.
“I had further asked how much money was paid to Troy Costa, a Mumbai-based cloth designer, for designing the clothes of Narendra Modi for his American tour. The PMO refused to provide any Information on this too. It is highly improbable that Troy Costa was paid for designing the clothes of the PM out of the PM’s own pocket. If it was so, the PMO should have mentioned it in the response to my RTI query, which it did not. If he was not paid out of the PM’s own pocket, then it must be the part of the government’s records since no one is authorized to squander the exchequer’s money,” he added.
It may be recalled that the PMO had declined to answer an RTI query of Rohit Kumar in April this year seeking information on the list of appointments with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the grounds that it would be detrimental to the country’s security and integrity.