THE ELECTION Commission (EC) has issued showcause notices to two Congress candidates who lost the Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls last December, asking them why they should not be disqualified from contesting future elections for presenting allegedly incorrect accounts of expenses.
The MP Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) issued notices on May 14 to Congress candidates Kalpana Verma and Shivjeet Singh “Bhaiya Raja”, who fought from Raigaon and Panna seats, respectively.
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MP CEO V L Kantha Rao told The Indian Express that both have 20 days to present their defence. He said he did not wish to comment further on the matter.
The action is based on the report submitted by Income-Tax officials on the controversial raids that took place in Madhya Pradesh in April. The raids, which were mainly to get EC notice on the premises of relatives and aides of Chief Minister Kamal Nath, had triggered a war of words between the BJP and the Congress, and forced the EC to advise the Revenue Secretary and Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) to maintain “neutrality”.
According to the report submitted by the I-T department, their team discovered receipts for money paid to Bhaiya Raja and Verma. Both are alleged to have received Rs 10 lakh each, said an official.
The money allegedly received by Verma and Bhaiya Raja was not reflected in the final accounts submitted by them to the Commission, which is in contravention of norms under Section 10A of the Representation of the People Act.
Section 10A deals with failure to lodge one’s account of election expenses. If candidates, elected or otherwise, do not file their account of expenses within the time and in the manner prescribed by EC then they, on being proved guilty, can be disqualified for a period of three years from the date of the order.
Candidates have to file their statements of election expenses within 30 days from the date of election to the District Election Officer (DEO). Once submitted, the statements are verified by the DEO and state CEO and forwarded to the EC. In the case of the MP assembly polls, the statements of election expenses were forwarded to the EC by the second week of January.
Verma lost the seat to BJP’s Jugal Kishore Bagri by 17,421 votes, and Raja to BJP’s Brijendra Pratap Singh by 20,708 votes. The Madhya Pradesh polls saw a close fight between the BJP (109) and the Congress (114).