Goa Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar has said that his family members, who accompanied him on an official tour to the United States of America, did so at their own expense.
The opposition Congress had hit out at the minister and had said that family members should not be allowed to go on such official trips.
Senior minister and Cabinet Advisory Committee member, Sudin Dhavalikar, had also said, earlier, that Ajgaonkar would be asked to bear the expenses incurred on his family in connection with the trip.
Ajgaonkar, who arrived from the USA two days ago, issued a statement yesterday and alleged that the opposition was creating an “unnecessary controversy”.
“They (family members) were there at their own expense. The opposition is creating unnecessary controversy over the tour,” he claimed.
He added that such tours had also been organised during previous Congress-led governments.
He said that organising such international trade fairs was one of the primary functions of the Tourism Department and the aim was to bring quality tourists from niche markets to Goa.
The minister claimed that there was “100 per cent transparency” in the working of the state Tourism department and anyone seeking information from it could obtain it “any time”.
The official delegation that went to the USA included Nilesh Cabral, chairman, Goa Tourism Development Corporation, Dharmendra Sharma, principal secretary, Tourism and Rajesh Kale, deputy director, Tourism.