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Mar 30, 2013 at 10:21am IST

US delegates who met Narendra Modi paid for the trip, say reports

Ahmedabad: There is more controversy over the meeting of US delegates with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday as media reports suggested that organisers of that delegation canvassed for participants in the trip at prices ranging from $ 3,000 to $ 16,000.

A report published in Hi India, a publication from Chicago claimed that organisers of the US delegation that included three Congressmen collected money from participants for their India trip that included a meeting with Narendra Modi. In other words, participants of the delegation had to pay the trip sponsor, National Indian American Public Policy Institute (NIAPPI), to visit India and meet Modi.

The trip included visits to the Ranthambore tiger reserve, the Taj Mahal, the Lake Palace at Udaipur, the Golden Temple and a visit to Karnataka as a state guest.

Gujarat Congress President Arjun Modhvadia demanded an apology from Modi. "Narendra Modi must apologise to the nation for this and step down," Modhvadia said.

The organisers of the trip say there is nothing controversial about asking the US Congressmen to pay for the trip. NIAPPI founder Shalabh Kumar said, "There has been no wrong doing whatsoever. All the practices are according to law."

"Our trip here is approved by the appropriate committee. Anybody who wants to question the legitimacy of our trip should understand we do not cheat our nation. Our opponents are maligning our trip here," US Congressman Aaraon Schock said.

If members of the delegation indeed had to shell out money to visit places in India and also to meet Modi, then it is merely a matter of embarrassment for the Gujarat Chief Minister who is desperate to gain international acceptance.

Corrigendum: An earlier version of this story had an error in the headline. We apologise for the same.

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