Saturday, Sep 20, 2014

Ashok Chavan issued notice in paid news case, EC asks why he should not be disqualified

Ashok Chavan (Source: PTI) Ashok Chavan (Source: PTI)
Press Trust of India | Mumbai | Posted: July 13, 2014 7:04 pm | Updated: July 13, 2014 8:19 pm

In fresh trouble for former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, the Election  Commission on Sunday slapped a show cause notice on him for failing to lodge his election expenses as per law in a paid news case and asked him why he should not be disqualified.

Setting a 20-day deadline to respond to the notice, the Commission said he has “failed to lodge his account of election expenses in the manner required by the (Representation of the People) Act and rules.”

The EC, on the directions of the Supreme Court, had issued a notice to Chavan in May last to appear before it in connection with the case of alleged expenses made by him during the 2009 Maharashtra assembly polls which were categorised as “paid news”. If Chavan is disqualified by the EC, it may have an impact on his Lok Sabha membership also though the issue relates to his contesting the assembly polls.

The EC order said a candidate who is declared disqualified by the Commission under Section 10 of the RP Act “incurs disqualification for contesting further elections to any House of Parliament or State Legislature for a period of three years, “and also for continuing as member of any such House if he is already a sitting member from the date of the order of the Election Commission and not from the date on which he contested the election or was elected at such election.”

“Therefore, the resignation of the respondent from the membership of the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly on 22nd May, 2014, has no effect or impact on the continuance of the present proceedings before the Commission and the proceedings shall continue unabated until logical conclusion thereof,” Paragraph 70 of the EC order said.

The full bench of the EC comprising Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) V S Sampath and Election Commissioners H S Brahma and S N A Zaidi issued the 104-page order. It had reserved its decision on the issue on June 19.

When contacted, Chavan said he will respond to the notice after examining it.

Chavan, who became CM of Maharashtra in December, 2008 replacing Vilasrao Deshmukh, said that the show cause notice issued to him by the Election Commission has vindicated his and Congress’ stand and “there is no question of paid news.”

“Our stand on the paid news issue has been confirmed by the Election Commission. Even the High Court and Supreme Court had taken a similar stand when our opponents had filed a petition. The courts had rejected their petition. Now this (EC) order is also very clear. There is no question continued…

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