Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu on Wednesday sought details of expenditure on the use of a helicopter and a fixed-wing aircraft by the Bhagwant Mann government, accusing it of spending public money on “luxury sorties” for AAP campaigns in other states.
Sidhu wrote to the secretary of the Punjab Civil Aviation Department, seeking the information under the Right to Information Act.
The Congress leader said the Aam Aadmi Party government, in the last one and a half years, used the aircraft for election campaigning in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and other states.
"It has come to notice that the Punjab government on various occasions has used the official state chopper and also hired fixed-wing aircraft for campaigns and tours regarding party affairs, I need information on various accounts under RTI," he wrote.
As the state government has to pay for the financial burden caused by hiring of fixed-wing aircraft, I request you to kindly inform the following things,” the former minister wrote.
"Firstly, on how many occasions was a private jet hired by the state government in the last one and a half years, where all the aircraft was taken, what was the purpose, and what was the total bill of all the flights and hiring of aircraft, including aircraft rent and airport charges,” Sidhu wrote.
It has also been learnt that the state chopper was also used for campaign purposes in various states, the Congress leader said.
"I also seek similar information in this regard," he said.
"As your department is responsible for hiring and paying the expenses, also inform that what is the per hour hiring cost of fixed-wing aircraft,” wrote the former MLA.
Later, speaking to reporters, the former Congress chief asked why public money was being spent on “luxury sorties” and “why the theft of Punjab's resources is taking place.”
"They (aircraft) were used for campaigning in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh and other states,” he alleged.
Attacking the AAP government over the issue of state debt, Sidhu said, “What was said and what is happening now”.
Punjab will become a bankrupt state the way it is raising money, he added.