New Delhi: Courting controversy over his minorities’ sub-quota remarks and alleged violation of model code of conduct, Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma has
expressed regrets in writing to the Election Commission which completed the hearing in his case on Friday.
The Commission, on his request, heard today Beni`s counsel Abhishek Singhvi, who handed over to it the minister`s written regret over his sub-quota remarks and regretted the same, saying "he has the highest regard for the Election Commission".
"The Commission has heard both the parties and ended the hearing in the case. The Commission will deliberate on the issue and then take a final decision on it," a top EC official said to sources after the hearing.
Singhvi later told reporters that "today, I have repeated that and clarified before the Commission that it was never the intention of Mr Verma in any manner to hurt the Commission… That he holds the Commission in the highest respect... What he
said, if it has hurt them, he regrets the same... The EC has closed the proceedings in the case and we hope it will end the matter now."
The Steel Minister was issued a show cause notice on February 18 by the Election Commission over his remarks on sub-quota for minorities, after holding that prima facie it was a violation of the model code of conduct and sought his reply.
After Verma`s open challenge to the EC in his speech during election meeting in Farrukhabad, Uttar Pradesh, the EC issued a notice saying "it is evident from the above statements of Shri Beni Prasad Verma that he was well aware that by making such utterances, he was violating the model code of conduct and yet he deliberately and willfully did the same."
While addressing a poll rally on the night of February 15 in Farukkabad in the presence of Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh and Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Beni had said "reservation for Muslims will be increased and if
EC wants, it can now issue a notice to me."
Singhvi said, "We have filed a detailed reply...In the opening part of his reply itself...Verma has said clearly that he has highest regard for the Election Commission. And all his utterances, if it all they have hurt anyone or caused anguish is totally unintentional as far as any wrong thing said by him is concerned."
Verma in his reply has said that he had "turned emotional while making his remarks". Singhvi said, "The EC has closed the proceedings in the case and we hope it will end the matter now, after the complainant also agreed on his regret."
Earlier, BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad, who appeared on behalf of the complainant party the BJP, said after the hearing, Verma today expressed regret in writing before the Commission.
He said what is more important is that "today Verma has expressed regret for what he has stated...almost apologized before the Commission. Once an apology was tendered in terms of regret, then I have left it to the Commission to take a
final call. The Commission will pass an appropriate order".
The BJP leader said, "...Government`s prominent ministers first give statements, then challenge the EC and when a notice is issued, then they express unconditional regrets. We have now left it to the Commission."