BENGALURU: Former Prime Minister and Rajya Sabha member H D Deve Gowda now has a swanky new ride. The highend Volvo car, given to him last week, is the most expensive vehicle given to any elected representative in the state by the State Government. It costs almost three times more than what is permitted for a Rajya Sabha member. The decision to purchase such an expensive car at a time when the state is facing severe financial crisis has raised many eyebrows.
‘Rules modified for Deve Gowda’s new vehicle’
As per rules, for purchasing new vehicles for elected representatives, the Department of Personnel and Administrative Services cannot exceed Rs 22 lakh for Cabinet ministers, Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members, while chairpersons of boards and corporation cannot buy a car worth more than Rs 11 lakh. However, there is no such limit for a CM’s official vehicle. Sources said that in allotting the car to the former PM, rules have been modified. The Volvo XC60 costs Rs 76 lakh, including road tax and insurance, but as government cars are exempted from taxes, it cost Rs 60 lakh.
Yet, it is Rs 38 lakh over and above the permitted limit. Official sources said the former PM had requested for a ‘’comfortable’’ vehicle. The proposal was cleared by CM B S Yediyurappa himself as a special case, and sent to Finance Department for approval. Taking into account his age and him being the only one from Karnataka to have been PM, an exemption was made, the sources said. At present, most of the ministers and MPs are using Toyota Innova Crysta MUVs, while Yediyurappa and Opposition leader Siddaramiah are using Toyota Fortuner SUVs which cost Rs 40-Rs 45 lakh. While the CM has two Fortuners, Siddaramiah was given one from the State Legislative Assembly.
In the normal course, ministers or other eligible lawmakers who need a vehicle approach the DPAR, which sends the request to the CM which is then sent to the Finance Department for approval. Deve Gowda’s new car is registered in the name of the Chief Secretary. “No other car in the state, allotted by government, including the CM’s vehicle, is this expensive,’’ said the source.