New Delhi: Controversies seem to love former President Pratibha Devisingh Patil. After giving up her post-retirement bungalow in Pune, Patil has been asked by Rashtrapati Bhawan to return as many as 155 ‘gifts’, following a Right to Information (RTI) inquiry .

An RTI query, filed by Subhas Chandra Agarwal on August 18, revealed that Patil had taken almost 40 truck-loads of gifts and artefacts that have been given on loan to the Vidya Bharati Shaikshanik Mandal in Amravati, Maharashtra, for display. Meanwhile Pratibha Patil has been asked to return all the gifts by June 15, 2013.

Replying to the RTI query President’s Secretariat said that all the articles should be back before the given time. In his query, Agarwal cited that the gifts were kept in the private museum of the Mandal in her hometown Amravati.

Patil had earlier courted controversy for spending Rs 205 crore on visit to 22 countries during her five year tenure. Her tour bill exceeded all the previous records of her predecessors.

The Rashtrapati Bhawan said that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed 4 days before Patil demitted her office between the President’s Secretariat and the Mandal. However the secretariat has also maintained that Patil hasn’t taken any gift/artefact along post retirement. The reply also added that Patil's predecessor Dr APJ Abdul Kalam had also moved 36 gifts out of Rashtrapati Bhawan, but they were for display at the Defence Research and Development Organisation, where he used to work.

(JPN/Bureau)

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