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Pratibha Patil Demands Vehicle for Personal Use

Former President of India Pratibha Patil's vehicle woes has prompted her office to write to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to intervene and come to her aid.

The former President, now settled in Pune, wants an official vehicle to be at her disposal whenever she travels outside the city. But, according to sources, this will be in violation of rules since she is already using a personal vehicle for which she gets a fuel allowance from the government.

There has been a trail of communication between Patil's office and MHA regarding her entitlement for a car.

"She has been using her personal vehicle for which she gets a fuel allowance as per rules. But she wants an official car when she travels outside Pune. She can either get a car or the fuel allowance, not both," said an official privy to the details.

Patil's private secretary GK Das did not comment on the matter. "I have nothing to say as I am not allowed to speak to the press," he told Mail Today over phone from Pune.

The government rules say that a former President is entitled to get a car free of charge and shall be paid actual maintenance allowance.

In case someone wishes to use a personal car, then a monthly allowance equal to the cost of 250 litres of fuel and salary for a driver equivalent to government pay scale is paid.

The last communication sent by Patil's office to MHA was on July 3, 2015 requesting instructions to Maharashtra government to provide an official vehicle whenever she travels outside Pune, or attends official programmes within the city.

The additional vehicle is requested for official functions even within the city since her staff always accompanies her.

The letter sent to MHA says that the district administration had been providing an official vehicle whenever she travelled out of Pune.

Sources said the Maharashtra government objected to this practice of official vehicle being provided to her in addition to the allowance paid to her because she uses a personal vehicle.

The letter says that this practice may kindly be continued, but the General Administration Department (Protocol) of the Maharashtra government clarified that they will issue directions as per Government of India orders.

"We have asked the Maharashtra government to follow the guidelines and act as per the provisions regarding entitlement of a car to a former President," said a home ministry official.

After completing her term as President, Patil was embroiled in a controversy after an RTI query revealed that she had taken all the gifts given to her at official functions, even though as a practice in the past such gifts were deposited to the government.

Patil also had to surrender piece of land in Pune chosen for her post-retirement home after there was public outrage since the land was meant for war widows.

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