Court approves poll panel probe against Ashok Chavan

September 30th, 2011 - 9:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Friday gave its go-ahead to the Election Commission to probe former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan for allegedly submitting wrong details of his poll expenditure in the 2009 assembly elections.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Sanjiv Khanna said: “If the decision is read as a whole and not in a disjointed manner, the principle is clear that the commission can go into the truthfulness or untruthfulness of the accounts.”

Dismissing Chavan’s plea challenging the poll panel’s power to proceed against him, the bench said: “How far the commission can go, will be a question of degree. It will be in the realm of exercise of power.”

The court said the commission had 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 stands dismissed”.

“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 bench observed.

The commission began its proceeding against Chavan on a plea by Bharatiya Janata Party vice-president Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, alleging that the former chief minister paid huge sums of money to newspapers to favourably cover his poll campaign during the 2009 assembly elections, but had shown a meagre expenditure of Rs.11,000 for it.

The court earlier stayed the commission proceedings and issued notices to the poll panel and others, including Naqvi.

Those who approached the commission in December 2009 included BJP Maharashtra unit president Kirit Somaiya and Independent candidate Madhav Kinhalkar, who lost in the Bhokar constituency in the 2009 elections.

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