EC may bar Ashok Cha­van from con­test­ing polls for three years over case of ‘ paid’ news

India Today - - NATION - By Kiran Tare

The Elec­tion Com­mis­sion ( EC) is likely to dis­qual­ify for­mer Ma­ha­rash­tra chief min­is­ter Ashok Cha­van from con­test­ing any elec­tion for three years. The grounds— al­legedly hid­ing ex­penses on his cam­paign dur­ing the Oc­to­ber 2009 Assem­bly elec­tions. The Supreme Court on May 2 cleared the decks for EC ac­tion by re­ject­ing Cha­van’s plea to stop a probe into the mat­ter. Chief Elec­tion Com­mis­sioner S. Y. Qu­raishi is ex­pected to de­liver his ver­dict be­fore he re­tires on June 10.

Cha­van, an ac­cused in the Adarsh Hous­ing So­ci­ety case, won from Bhokar, Nanded, by a mar­gin of 1.25 lakh votes. His op­po­nent, in­de­pen­dent can­di­date Mad­hav Kin­halkar, filed a com­plaint with EC, ac­cus­ing him of hid­ing ex­penses on a ‘ paid’ sup­ple­ment ti­tled ‘ Ashok Parva’ ( The era of Ashok) in lead­ing Marathi daily Lok­mat. Cha­van and the daily’s man­age­ment say the sup­ple­ment was not a paid one. EC be­gan a probe into Kin­halkar’s charges. Cha­van, then, filed a pe­ti­tion in the Delhi High Court in 2010 de­mand­ing a stay and later ap­proached the Supreme Court in Novem­ber 2011 af­ter the high court re­jected his con­tention.

EC has re­port­edly found facts that cor­rob­o­rate Kin­halkar’s com­plaint. It will now record Cha­van’s de­fence. If found guilty, EC can dis­qual­ify Cha­van and bar him from con­test­ing elec­tions for three years. Kin­halkar has also filed a case against Cha­van in the Bom­bay High Court seek­ing his dis­qual­i­fi­ca­tion.

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