THE ELECTION Commission (EC) has decided to not intervene in the matter of alleged inaccuracies in the poll affidavit filed by BJP president Amit Shah last year, before his election to the Rajya Sabha. The Congress approached EC last month seeking action against Shah for allegedly concealing his liabilities in his election affidavit. According to the complaint, the BJP president had failed to disclose that his son’s limited liability partnership, Kusum Finserve, had mortgaged two plots of land owned by him, against which credit facilities of Rs 95 crore were availed.
The BJP had rejected the allegation, saying that even if Shah had mortgaged his property it does not mean that the liability is his. The Commission is learnt to have told the Congress that the party itself can move a petition before a competent court for action under Section 125A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. Section 125A provides for punishment of up to six months or fine or both for filing a false affidavit.
According to sources, the decision is a reiteration of the stand taken by EC four years ago. In 2014, the poll panel had told all its Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) that any aggrieved person can approach the court directly if she feels a candidate has filed a false affidavit.
In its letter, dated April 26, 2014, the Commission wrote to all CEOs, “Under Section 125A, there is no stipulation that complaints under that section have to be made by the public servant concerned (in this case the Returning Officer). Therefore it would be open to any aggrieved person to move petition before appropriate Court of competent jurisdiction with petition for action under Section 125A in the case of any false declaration or concealing of information in the affidavit in Form 26.”