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Updated: June 8, 2012 01:51 IST

Chidambaram to face trial on poll petition, says court

Mohamed Imranullah S.
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Union Minister P. Chidambaram leaves South Block after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.
Union Minister P. Chidambaram leaves South Block after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday.

Judge strikes off only two charges of his exercising undue influence and misusing official machinery

The Madras High Court on Thursday declined to remove all allegations listed in a petition challenging the election of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram from Sivaganga in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, but ordered the deletion of two paragraphs that contained charges of his using the services of officials, including bank officers, to ensure his victory.

Rejecting Mr. Chidambaram's contention that the election petition, filed by R.S. Raja Kannappan (AIADMK), did not disclose any material fact, Justice K. Venkataraman said the allegations of corrupt practices and distribution of money to voters could not be nullified at this stage but had to be examined in a detailed trial.

The matter was heard in the principal seat of the High Court in Chennai, but the order was delivered in the Madurai Bench.

Disposing of Mr. Chidambaram's application filed last year in response to the main election petition of June 2009, Justice Venkataraman struck off only two of the 25 paragraphs sought to be nullified in Mr. Raja Kannappan's 28-paragraph affidavit.

In those two paragraphs, he accused Mr. Chidambaram of bringing undue influence in his capacity as Union Minister and making the entire official machinery in the constituency work overtime for his victory. The AIADMK candidate also alleged that certain bank officers owing allegiance to the Minister were deployed for election duty despite protests.

The court, however, said these allegations were without substance and material facts. “The name of the bank, the name of the officials, the place where they had been enlisted for election duty, the date and time are not set out in the election petition,” the judge said.

On Mr. Chidambaram's plea to strike off the other 23 paragraphs also, the judge said: “The contention of the applicant that the election petition does not disclose material facts or material particulars as far as the corrupt practice and distribution of cash [are concerned] cannot be accepted at this stage. It requires a detailed trial.

“A perusal of the various averments made in the election petition shows that sufficient material facts were made and it discloses cause of action for trial of the election petition. It also contains adequate statement of material facts on which the allegations of irregularities or illegalities in counting were founded … The contention that the election petition does not disclose any cause of action cannot be accepted.”

The paragraphs the judge refused to strike off contained allegations that thousands of women belonging to self-help groups in the constituency were paid Rs. 500 each by the Minister's son, Karti Chidambaram, and his election agents, and that the Minister, in connivance with the Returning Officer, manipulated the number of votes in his favour on the day of counting, May 16, 2009.

According to Mr. Raja Kannappan, he secured 3,34,348 votes as against 3,30,994 votes polled by Mr. Chidambaram. However, when it became clear later in the day that the Congress-led alliance was about to form the next government at the Centre, the results were manipulated in favour of Mr. Chidambaram, who was declared elected by a margin of 3,354 votes, the AIADMK candidate alleged.

Denying the allegations, the Minister wanted the court to dismiss the election petition and strike off the 25 paragraphs in particular.

This was the second time he filed an application.

A similar application filed in 2009 on grounds of defects in the petition was dismissed on August 4 last by Justice Venkataraman, who said they were curable.

Extraordinary man indeed! Mired in many cases.We simply do not know how many more cases will come up in future.Turned defeat into victory.Sure,he will enjoy power and perks till the final verdict.His strength is closeness to high command and privy to valuable information.He may be a political lightweight and non-performer[for the country]. But he is above law.Vast net work of media[enjoying govt comforts]is in attendance to proclaim his innocence'. Who said he is not clean? Just see his spotless dhoti.

from:  S.Srinivasan
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 19:16 IST

THIS IS MOCKERY OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA. Even if the the petitioner wins - he doesn't gain anything, and the Loser doesn't lose nothing. This is a best example of denial of justice under the Indian Judicial System. Why do they entertain the election petitions on the first hand? Just to befool the petitioner and depriving the electorate of a truly elected representation?? For the 5 years tenure of the contested candidature, 3 years passed and trail yet to start. Another 2 years may pass till the verdict is given. The defendant exercises all powers as if he was the real winner and strengthens his base for the next election. The 26th June 1975 verdict in Indira Gandhi vs Raj Narain should have been an eye opener. How dangerous can it become when the petition relates to top leadership in the Govt. IF AN ELECTION PETITION IS EVER TO BE ENTERTAINED BY A COURT, A STATUS QUO, PRIOR TO DECLARATION OF THE CONTESTED ELECTION RESULT SHOULD BE AN AUTOMATIC OUTCOME.

from:  RV
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 17:21 IST

This country is a Banana Republic.This case should have been sttled in 6 weeks after that election. Now this man enjoys being an MP and Minister for 3 years when his election itself is under question.

from:  Vishwanath
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 12:14 IST

Chidambaram went to High court so that proceedings could be delayed. He was partially successful as trial got delayed for three years. Now he'll go to supreme court and trial will get delayed by another few years. If the investigations and trial had continued the case could have reached its logical conclusion.

from:  Mohan
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 11:50 IST

If Chidambaram loses the case, how Raja Kannappan will be compensated for the denial of his right to become a Minister and the mental agony he suffered all along? Mere returning the salary that Chidambaram drew during his tenure will not sufficed.

from:  Md Rashid Eqbal
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 11:34 IST

what is the use even if case goes against Chidambaram as he has enjoyed the benefits of Minister for past 4 Years

from:  suresh
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 10:04 IST

With more than 100 similar elections petitions in courts, he would have easily sat in the background and allowed next two years also to pass till 2014, when the whole election petition would have lost its relevance. Curiously an honest man who wants to clear his name against a false complaint approaches the court and able to get two serious charges of corruption quashed, but rather than praising the man for his sincerity, the media & political parties start gunning for his head once again.

from:  Sanjay
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 09:41 IST

Truth will prevail and PC will lose his election.

It is undemocratic to delay the case for so long as the people's verdict was manipulated by election officials and those culpable officers must be punished for their part.

This case should have been taken long ago and if there is serious allegations or doubt, the best option is to have a by-election. Shame to be a MP and represent the people without people's support!

from:  Shiva
Posted on: Jun 8, 2012 at 01:42 IST
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