Election Commission has identified six news articles having appeared in local newspapers in Raigarh Lok Sabha constituency as ‘paid news’ and directed that costs incurred in publishing them be added to poll expenditure of BJP and Congress nominees.

The directions in this regard were given by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC), which is constituted by the Election Commission, headed by district collector Mukesh Bansal.

“As per the directions, Rs 16,932 be added to poll expenditure of BJP state president and party nominee Vishnudeo Sai and Rs 8,617 to the expenses of Congress candidate Aarti Singh from the region,” said Vijay Kedia, a non-government member of the Committee.

According to Mr. Kedia, news published in four local Hindi newspapers — Dainik Jankarm, Dainik Kelo Pravah, Dainik Raigarh Sandesh and Dainik Krantikari Sanket — were in favour of Congress candidate Aarti Singh and BJP nominee Vishnudeo Sai, who are in the fray from Raigarh constituency.

The committee had issued a show cause notice to both candidates seeking their reply in this connection to which they replied within stipulated period of time.

Mr. Sai said the news was based on press note released by him.

When contacted, Ms. Singh denied the allegation but said she would abide by the directives of MCMC.

Further, after examination, MCMC categorised all these news articles as paid news and took action in this regard, Mr. Kedia added.