Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan used disaster fund to pay chopper bill; draws flak

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New Delhi | Published: January 10, 2018 10:55:37 AM

After facing heat for diverting the disaster fund to pay a chopper bill, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has taken a U-turn. As per a report by The Indian Express, The bill for a helicopter that was hired for a journey conducted by the Kerala Chief Minister was funded from the state’s disaster relief fund.

Kerala CM draws flak for diverting disaster fund to pay chopper bill

After facing heat for diverting the disaster fund to pay a chopper bill, Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan has taken a U-turn. As per a report by The Indian Express, The bill for a helicopter that was hired for a journey conducted by the Kerala Chief Minister was funded from the state’s disaster relief fund. With the issue triggering a row, the chief minister’s office said the order for payment would be cancelled. As per the report, on December 26, the private helicopter was hired for CM Pinarayi Vijayan’s journey to and from Thrissur to attend a CPM district conference. On January 6, the government issued an order asking the Thiruvananthapuram district collector to release Rs 8 lakh towards the invoice of the helicopter hired for the journey of the CM. The order, however, said the journey was for a meeting with an inter-ministerial central team, which was in Kerala to assess the Ockhi cyclone situation. The request for payment was placed before the Revenue Department, which handles disaster management.

Reportedly, the helicopter firm had sought Rs 13 lakh, but it was brought down to Rs 8 lakh after negotiations. The opposition launched a scathing attack on the CM after the incident came to light. Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said Vijayan’s action was equal to stealing from a beggar’s bowl. “It is unfortunate that the disaster relief fund was diverted for meeting the helicopter bill of the CM,” he said, as per a report by The Indian Express.

Coming to CM’s rescue, the CMO later said that the order would be cancelled as per the CM’s direction. The CMO also cleared that the order was issued without the knowledge of the chief minister.

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