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Election Commission to frame charges against ex-Maharashtra CM Ashok Chavan next week in 'paid news' case

Friday, 23 May 2014 - 7:04pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

The Election Commission on Friday decided to frame charges against former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan and begin a regular hearing from May 30 in the alleged 'paid news' and furnishing of 'incorrect' election accounts case against him.

A team of lawyers of Chavan, who recently won the Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket from Nanded, today deposed before the poll panel where it was decided that specific charges will be framed against him before the final hearing is commenced in this case.

"Both Chavan and complainants against him have been asked to submit their representations by next week after which charges will be framed and the hearing will be done from May 30," a source privy to the development said.

Chavan, in response to EC's summons issued to him last week, had requested the poll panel to frame specific charges and terms of reference before proceeding in this case.

Sources said once the representations are made, the EC will frame the issues or charges and it would be notified to both Chavan and the complainants against him.

"The legal proceedings henceforth will be done under the set frame of charges/issues," a source said.

A similar case of furnishing allegedly false election accounts by former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda has already been postponed till May 26.

The EC, on the directions of the Supreme Court, had issued a notice to Chavan last week to appear before it in connection with the case of alleged expenses made by him during the 2009 polls which were categorised as "paid news".

The apex court had, in its earlier order, given a free hand to the Commission to inquire into complaints of 'paid news' or incorrect expenses against a political leader.

A bench headed by Justice AK Patnaik had dismissed Chavan's plea challenging the Commission's jurisdiction to inquire into such issues.

The apex court had directed the Commission to inquire into the complaint against Chavan within 45 days.

The EC, post complaints made against the two political leaders, had initiated disqualification procedures against them under the Representation of the People Act.

Both the leaders had challenged the EC's action as they denied any wrongdoing. 

In the second case, the EC has asked Koda to appear for the hearing, either in person or through an authorised counsel, regarding a case against him for allegedly furnishing false election expenditure records after the 2009 polls.

The poll body had last conducted a hearing in Chavan's case in May 2012.

The apex court had passed an order on May 5 on an appeal filed by Chavan challenging the Delhi High Court verdict which had refused to grant any relief to him on the issue of 'paid news'.

In the case of Koda, who was elected as an Independent MP from West Singhbum constituency in Jharkhand in 2009, the EC had in October, 2010, issued a notice to him asking him why he should not be disqualified on the ground that he had shown the election expenses far less than the actual amount of nearly Rs 10 crore allegedly spent by him.

The Commission had said it found that Koda had made an expenditure of about Rs 10 crore during his election campaign against Rs 25 lakh as stipulated under the EC guidelines for parliamentary polls that time.


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