HC allows EC to proceed against Chavan & Koda

The Delhi High Court on Friday gave the green signal to Election Commission to probe Ashok Chavan and Madhu Koda.

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday gave the green signal to Election Commission to probe Ashok Chavan and Madhu Koda, former Chief Ministers of Maharashtra and
Jharkhand respectively, in connection with alleged discrepancies in their poll expenditure accounts.

A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice
Sanjeev Khanna gave the order while dismissing the pleas of
Chavan and Koda challenging the poll panel`s power to proceed
against them.

Chavan is an MLA from Maharashtra while Koda, currently
lodged in Jharkhand jail for his alleged role in a money
laundering and corruption case, is a Lok Sabha MP from
Singhbhum in Jharkhand.

"The(Election) Commission can go into the truthfulness
or untruthfulness of the accounts filed by the elected
candidates," the court said.

"The Commission has correctly appreciated and
understood the law laid down therein and therefore we concur
with the view expressed by it (EC). The writ petition being
devoid of merit and stands dismissed," the bench said citing
various apex court`s rulings.

The court further said, "It should be clear that there
is a check with regard to the conduct of the contesting
candidates as well as the elected candidates..."

The EC had begun proceedings against Chavan on a
complaint by BJP leaders and others alleging he had shown a
poll expenditure of merely Rs 11,000 in the 2009 assembly
elections despite allegedly paying huge sums of money to
various newspapers for a favourable coverage about his poll

The EC had begun proceedings against Koda for his
alleged failure to submit his poll expense account in a 2009
bye election.

On the basis of complaint by BJP vice-president Mukhtar
Abbas Naqvi and others, the poll panel had on April 2 decided
to proceed against Chavan over the issue of "paid news" in
some Hindi and Marathi newspapers after paying them money
during the 2009 assembly elections.

Chavan moved the high court challenging the poll panel`s
decision to proceed against him, contending that it has no
power to do so.

Koda, in a separate petition, had challenged the EC
notice of October 7, 2010 and January 26, 2011, threatening
him with disqualification for allegedly not filing detailed
accounts about his poll expenses during the 2009 elections.

Koda, who has been in jail since his arrest in November
2009, had said that the Commission has issued notice to him on
the basis of IT returns filed by him in 2009 and sought
quashing of the notice.

According to the petition, Koda was elected as
independent MP in 2009 and in October 2010 the Election
Commission had issued notice to him asking him as to why he
should not be disqualified on the ground that he had shown the
election expenses much less than the actual amount of nearly
Rs 19 lakh.


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