Election Commission seeks written reply from him within 20 days, failing which he may be disqualified

Senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde on Sunday said he had received a show cause notice from the Election Commission (EC) and he would send his reply, through his advocate.

Talking to The Hindu from Mumbai on the phone, Mr. Munde said if need be he would even appear before the EC to explain his position. However, he refused to take further questions.

Mr. Munde, who was elected from Beed in Maharashtra in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll, has been given a notice for allegedly making a statement in a public function on June 27 in Mumbai claiming to have spent over Rs. 8 crore (whereas the permissible expenditure limit in that poll was only Rs. 25 lakh)

In its notice, the EC wanted to know why Mr. Munde “should not be disqualified under Section 10A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 for your failure to maintain a true and correct account of your election expenses as required by law, for not lodging the true account of your election expenditure by suppressing/undervaluing the said expenditure, and thus having failed to lodge your account of election expenses in the manner required by law.”

Asking him to send his written reply within 20 days, the Commission added: “In case, you fail to do so, within the time stipulated above, you will render yourself liable, without any further reference to you in the matter, for disqualification” from being an MLA, MP or MLC for three years.

“You did not maintain a true account”

While Mr. Munde, in his election expenditure account filed on June 8, 2009, had shown an expenditure of Rs. 19,36,922, it was evident “as per your own admission in public, you in fact spent Rs. 8 crore as your election expenditure and thus, you did not maintain a true account of your election expenses as required under Section 77 of the RP Act and therefore the account lodged by you under Section 78 of RP Act, is not in the manner required by law,” the notice said.

A copy of the CD, containing Mr. Munde’s speech in Mumbai on June 27, was sent along with the EC’s notice to him.

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