Mumbai: Rs eight lakh sanctioned from the Maharashtra Chief Minister's Relief Fund for a Thailand visit of government employees' dance troupe, has been returned, an RTI query has showed.

The sanction from the Relief Fund had become controversial last October.

"Following a fresh Right To Information query, Rs 8 lakh given as a grant for the dance troupe were deposited back in the CM's Relief Fund," RTI activist Anil Galgali said here.

The cheque for the refund was received by the CM's office on February 18, he said.

The sanction of the money -- disclosed in response to an RTI query by Galgali earlier -- had sparked off a row with the opposition questioning the BJP-led government's priorities at a time when the state is reeling under a severe drought.

The dance troupe of government employees was to participate in a competition in Bangkok in December.

According to the government, the money from the CM's Relief Fund can be given for aiding cultural activities too.