Former Maharashtra chief minister and Congress leader Ashok Chavan may be disqualified as Nanded MP after the Election Commission found him guilty of fudging his poll expenses during state elections in 2009.

The apex poll body yesterday ruled that Chavan failed to file his election expenses in the manner as required by the law.

The Election Commission passed the order in response to a complaint filed by former Maharashtra minister Madhavrao Kinhalkar, who was defeated by Chavan from Nanded in 2009, and the BJP.

The complainants said Chavan had not included the expenditure for 25 advertisements in Marthi newspapers in his accounts.

The Congress leader tried his best to stop the Election Commission from probing this case by first approaching the Delhi High Court and then the Supreme Court, but failed.

“Our stand on the paid news issue has been confirmed by the Election Commission. Even the high court and Supreme court had taken a similar stand when our opponents had filed a petition. The courts had rejected their petition. Now this (EC) order is also very clear. There is no question of paid news,” Chavan told PTI over phone.

When asked to comment on the EC order which says that Chavan has failed to file his election expenses in the requisite manner, Chavan said, “There is a provision under which a notice can be served to us. We will reply to that. I have not seen the order in detail yet. But (the issue of) paid news is ruled out totally.”

The 55-year-old first-time MP has previously also pointed out to the EC that even if the Rs 16,924 is added to his personal election expenses, he would still be well within the Rs 10 lakh limit set for candidates contesting legislative assembly polls.
The EC has apparently not taken this contention very kindly. If Chavan’s plea is entertained, it would be tantamount to granting a licence to all candidates to submit inaccurate expenditure reports, the EC order states.