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Delhi HC sets aside Ashok Chavan paid news show cause

The Delhi High Court today, accepting the plea of former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan, quashed the Election Commission’s show cause notice asking him to explain why he should not be disqualified in a “paid news” case.

Justice Suresh Kait set aside the poll panel’s July 13 show cause notice issued to Chavan.

The court had earlier suspended the poll panel’s notice till Nov 5.

The poll panel issued a show cause notice to Chavan, currently a Lok Sabha member from Nanded, for failing to lodge his election expenses as per law in the paid news case when he contested and won from Bhokar assembly constituency in the 2009 Maharashtra assembly elections.

However, Chavan has contended that he had filed all the correct poll expenses of Rs.6.85 lakh and sought setting aside of the commission’s notice.

He argued that the poll panel has not followed the procedure laid out in the Representation of the People Act before giving its findings.

The former chief minister has said the expenses he is alleged to have not declared were related to some advertisements that were released in October 2009 regarding a meeting that was to be held between the members of the UPA government.

Chavan’s opponent, Independent candidate Madhavrao Kinhalkar, had filed a complaint with the poll panel, accusing Chavan 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 had stated in an affidavit before the poll panel that Chavan had no knowledge about it.

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