'Niravari Nigam funds not used for iPhone'

'Niravari Nigam funds not used for iPhone'

A day after the row over distribution of costly iPhones and leather bags to Parliamentarians from the state, Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy on Wednesday said the government had not released money from any of its irrigation corporations to purchase the gifts.

Dismissing the rumours that the government had asked the Cauvery Niravari Nigama (CNN) to pay the bill for purchasing the gifts, the chief minister said, “I have not ordered release of money for the gifts from any of the government departments.”

“Since the finance portfolio is with me, I have not directed to sanction funds to buy gifts,” he said.

Irrigation Minister D K Shivakumar had earlier said he had gifted the iPhones and leather bags to MPs from his personal funds as a good gesture. But, there were rumours that one of the irrigation corporations paid the bill.

Kumaraswamy said he would not approve the giving gifts to people’s representatives. It created unwanted controversy, he said. 

Meanwhile, all BJP MPs, both Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, have decided to return the gift to the government.

While delivering invitations to MPs to attend the meeting convened by the chief minister in Delhi on July 18 to discuss the Cauvery water dispute and other issues, a kit comprising an iPhone and a leather bag were presented to them.

BJP Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrashekar shot off a letter to the chief minister, saying that the state government must utilise the exchequer money for people’s welfare and not on wasteful expenditure like providing gifts to elected representatives.

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