MUMBAI/NEW DELHI : Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Sunday claimed that the Election Commission’s show-cause notice to him has vindicated his stand that he did not publish any paid news during the 2009 Assembly election campaign.
“The EC notice makes it clear that it was not a case 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 filed a petition. The courts had rejected their petition. Now this order is also very clear. There is no question of paid news,” Chavan said.
Chavan stands accused of hiding the huge expenditure incurred on these “paid news” in his election expenses.
Such an act is a crime under Section 77 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.
Chavan said that he would reply to the notice in the stipulated time. “The Act has a provision to serve a notice. I have not seen the notice in detail yet. But paid news is ruled out totally. I am happy that my stand that it was not a case of paid news is accepted,” he said.
The EC order said that if the commission accepted Chavan’s plea, then every candidate would get a licence to file an incorrect or false statement and, if caught, might contend that the suppressed expenditure might be added to his account of election expenses.