Cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu is yet again courting controversy, this time over allegedly claiming reimbursement from the state government for his "personal visit" to Pakistan last year for the swearing-in ceremony of his friend Imran Khan as the PM of Pakistan.
Sidhu, who resigned as a minister in Punjab owing to a rift with Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh, claimed reimbursements for petrol, travel and his drivers wage from his house to border on the Indian side with Pakistan. His visit to Pakistan in August last year caused huge controversy after he hugged Pakistan Army chief Gen Bajwa during the ceremony.
Capt Amarinder Singh had advised Sidhu, who was then a cabinet minister, not to go to Pakistan in wake of the killing of Indian soldiers on the Line of Control in the valley. A defiant Sidhu ignored the CM’s advice and went ahead with his decision to visit the neighbouring country on the invitation of Imran Khan.
He had then stated that his visit to the neighbouring nation was "personal".
Opposition party Akali Dal has asked the Capt government to come clean on the issue.
Senior Akali dal leader and former MP Prem Singh Chandumajra said claiming reimbursements for a personal visit does not behove an MP.
The controversy erupted after details were procured under RTI by activist Ashwani Chawla. Akali Dal leaders say while the amount of reimbursement may not be significant, the government needs to explain the payment made from the official coffers.
Sidhu, who has chosen to slip into hibernation post his exit from the state cabinet some months ago, is yet to clarify his position on this latest controversy.