Ex-Maha CM Chavan`s poll account stayed by SC

The Supreme Court today stayed an ongoing probe by the Election Commission into the authenticity of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok c

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today stayed an
ongoing probe by the Election Commission into the authenticity
of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan`s spendings
during the 2009 state assembly polls allegedly involving
expenses on "paid news".

A three-judge bench of justices Altamas Kabir, SS
Nijjar and J Chelameswar temporarily halted the Commission
from probing Chavan`s poll account on his appeal against a
Delhi High Court order, which had allowed the probe.

While staying the EC probe, the apex court bench also
issued notices to the poll panel, the Maharashtra unit of the
BJP and other complainants including BJP leaders Mukhtar
Abbas Naqvi and Kirit Somaiyya on whose plea the probe had
been launched.

The bench sought replies to its notices within two weeks
and posted the matter for further hearing on December 2.

The high court on September 30 had given the poll panel
its green signal to go ahead with the probe into Chavan`s poll
account on the complaints of also former state minister Madhav
Kinhalkar, who was defeated by Chavan from the Nanded assembly

The EC had begun proceedings against Chavan on April 2 on
the complaints, which alleged that he had shown to the
Commission a poll expenditure of merely Rs 11,000 despite
paying money to various newspapers for favourable coverage of
his election campaign.

Chavan had challenged the EC probe against him saying
that the Commission had no power to probe his account, but the
high court had said the poll panel was well within its right
to probe it.

While dismissing Chavan`s plea against the poll panel`s
probe, the high court had said, "The Commission can go into
the truthfulness or untruthfulness of the accounts filed
by the elected candidates.

"The Commission has correctly appreciated and understood
the law laid down therein and, therefore, we concur with the
view expressed by it (EC)," the bench had said.

While dismissing Chavan`s plea, the high court had also
dismissed a similar plea by former Jharkhand Chief Minister
Madhu Koda, currently in judicial custody in Ranchi for his
alleged role in a money laundering and corruption case.

The EC had begun proceedings against him for his
alleged failure to submit his detailed poll expense account in
a 2009 bye-election in which he was elected as Singhbhum MP.

Koda, in a separate petition to the high court, 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.

The Delhi Highh Court had also dismissed his plea,
empowering the poll panel to go ahead with the probe.


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