MUMBAI: Stung by criticism of frequent trips to his home state Karnataka at the expense of the Maharashtra government, governor S M Krishna has said he will foot the bill for all future visits himself, including those which are official. Krishna made 31 trips to Bangalore between December 2004 and November 2006.
Last November, a Pune-based teacher, Anagha Bagul, had sought information under the RTI Act about the governor's travels. It was revealed that Krishna had spent Rs 35 lakh on his trips to Karnataka in the last two years. The visits included those undertaken for weddings, funerals, dance performances, a tennis association meeting and a volleyball championship. Krishna was shown to have been out of Maharashtra for more than 200 days during this period. He was accompanied by wife Prema 26 times and most of the visits were to Bangalore and southern cities.
In October, the governor was accused by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda of dabbling in Karnataka politics, a charge that Krishna has rejected. Following this, TOI had applied for information under the RTI Act and was replied to by the Raj Bhavan secretariat on December 8. In the reply Krishna said that henceforth all expenses pertaining to his and Prema's visits to Karnataka, including official ones, would be paid for by him. Raj Bhavan said the governor had taken the decision to "avoid unnecessary comments".
Answering a specific query about a controversial visit to Bangalore from October 27 to 30, when he was alleged to have attended a Congress meet at Chowdaiah Memorial Hall, the governor's secretariat said that as per the rules he had sought permission from the President on October 23 to leave for Bangalore. He denied that his Bangalore trip had to do with attending a political meet. And although it was to attend an official function, he had decided to treat it as personal and pay for all expenses.