AAP Rajya Sabha candidate faces objection by Congress leader Ajay Maken

Returning officer reserves order on N D Gupta nomination

Written by Aniruddha Ghosal | New Delhi | Updated: January 8, 2018 4:30 pm
Congress candidate Surender Kumar, Bawana bypoll, Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken, AAP MLA Ved Prakash, Aam Aadmi Party, India news, national news, latest news Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken.

The returning officer for the Rajya Sabha elections from Delhi has “reserved the order” on AAP’s nominee, chartered accountant N D Gupta, while clearing the names of Sanjay Singh and Sushil Gupta.

The order came after Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken demanded that N D Gupta’s nomination be rejected under Article 102 of the Constitution, as he allegedly held office of profit.

According to Maken, Gupta was appointed chairman of the audit committee of the National Pension Trust on September 8, 2015, and as a trustee of the National Pension Scheme (NPS) Trust on March 30, 2015.

While AAP called it a conspiracy and a futile exercise, Gupta said he “resigned from NPS Trust on December 29, 2015, way before filing of nomination”. “It is submitted that the NPS Trust is not an ‘office under government’ and also not an ‘office of profit under the government’. In any event, as an abundant caution, the said trust is excluded in the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act 1959,” Gupta said.

On Saturday, Maken submitted to the RO that Gupta was “currently holding the office of a Trustee of NPS Trust”, prompting the RO to ask for Gupta’s response for “further decision on (the) nomination”. The RO also noted that office of profit “is attracted as disqualification under Article 102 of the Constitution.”

Maken later made a second submission to the RO — that Gupta was also chairman of the audit committee of the National Pension Trust, and that he had not resigned from “this chairmanship till date”. He claimed the “legal requirement” was to give a month’s prior notice for such resignations and that there was no “proof that his resignation was accepted by NPS Trust”.

Maken further alleged: “BJP gave him the office of profit, and AAP a Rajya Sabha ticket.”

AAP, meanwhile, asked why Maken’s complaints were being entertained. “If a lakh people are to file objections, will the RO give an individual hearing to each person? The law prescribes that only candidates or election agents can raise objections during scrutiny of nominations,” AAP spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said. “In a worst case scenario of his nomination being rejected unlawfully, there will be a by-election and an AAP member will join Rajya Sabha in a month.”

Aman Panwar, in-charge of Delhi Congress’s legal affairs, countered: “The only point at which any member of the general public can raise objections, as per the law, is at the time of scrutiny before the RO….”

The RO is nominated by the Election Commission to oversee elections to Rajya Sabha. Officials said the officer completed scrutiny of the other two AAP nominees, following which their nominations were sent to the EC.

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