New Delhi, July 28 : The Delhi High Court Monday stayed the Election Commission’s show cause notice to former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan asking him to explain why he should not be disqualified in a ‘paid news’ case. Justice Suresh Kait, while staying the poll panel’s order till Nov 5, also issued notice to Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Kirit Somaiya and independent candidate Madhavrao Kinhalkar who had filed the complaint in the commission against Chavan, currently an MP from Nanded.
The poll panel had issued a show cause notice on July 13 to Chavan for failing to lodge his election expenses as per law in the paid news case when he contested and won from Bhokar assembly seat in the 2009 Maharashtra elections. In his plea before the high court, Chavan contended that he had filed all the correct poll expenses of Rs 6.85 lakh and sought setting aside of the commission’s July 13 show cause notice.
Chavan contended that the poll panel has not followed the procedure laid out in the Representation of the People Act prior to giving its findings. He said that expenses that he had allegedly not declared related to some advertisements that were released in October 2009 regarding a meeting that was to be held between the members of UPA.
His opponent, Kinhalkar, filed a complaint with the poll panel, accusing him of hiding expenses on a “paid” supplement titled “Ashok Parva” (The era of Ashok) in a leading Marathi daily. Chavan’s petition however stated that he did not know who had issued the advertisements and that even the publishers of the advertisements had stated on affidavit before the poll panel that Chavan had no knowledge about it.