Ashok Chavan Failed to Lodge Election Expenses As Per Law: EC

Published: 13th July 2014 08:25 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th July 2014 08:25 PM   |  A+A-

By PTI

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission today held former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan guilty of failing to give his correct election expenses in the 2009 assembly polls and slapped a show cause notice on him, a decision that could pave the way for his diqualification as MP and bar him from contesting polls for three years.        

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 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 55-year-old 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.        

Chavan, who became CM of Maharashtra in December, 2008 replacing Vilasrao Deshmukh, said that the show cause notice issued to him by the EC 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 of paid news," Chavan told PTI.

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