In the abstract of his election expenses filed on June 8, 2009, Bharatiya Janata Party MP Gopinath Munde had stated that he had spent Rs. 4,15,233 on public meetings, processions and so on, Rs. 1,40,843 on campaign materials such as handbills, posters, video and audio cassettes, loudspeakers; Rs. 5,49,679 on campaign through electronic and print media (including cable networks), Rs. 5,41,134 on vehicles, Rs. 1,01,670 on the erection of gates, banners, arches and cut-outs, and Rs. 1,88,363 on miscellaneous expenses.
According to the affidavit, his own expenses came to Rs. 18,70,860. An amount of Rs. 66,062 was a contribution from the political party, in this case the BJP, which seemed to have chipped in for gates, arches and cut-outs. All this added up to Rs. 19,36,922. He had stated that he had not received any lump sum grant from a political party, any other association or body or individual.
In an accompanying affidavit, Mr. Munde had said that these expenses were from March 31, 2009 to May 16, 2009, that is, from the date on which he was nominated as candidate and up to the date of the election results.
He also stated that the accounts of his election expenditure as annexed included all the items of election expenditure incurred or authorised by him or his election agent, the political party which sponsored him. Nothing had been concealed or withheld, he had asserted.
Of the total amount of Rs. 2,34,35,508 declared as assets, the BJP leader’s ‘Moveable Assets’ added up to just about Rs. 58 lakh. These included investments in banks, Public Provident Fund accounts, Life Insurance Corporation policies, a motor car and jewellery.
Mr. Munde’s ‘Immoveable Assets’ declaration revealed that he, along with his wife, had purchased 11 plots of agricultural land (in Beed and Parbhani districts) and five plots of non-agricultural land (in Beed and Pune districts). Besides, there was a 5,140-sq. ft. building (in his wife’s name) in Beed district, and a 1,250 sq. ft. apartment in the MLA Society in Mumbai’s Worli area. These added up to Rs. 176 lakh.
Ajit Ranade, one of the founders of the Association for Democratic Reforms told The Hindu that there is prima facie reason for the Election Commission to issue a show cause notice against Mr. Munde under Section 10A of the Representation of the People Act 1951 over the gross discrepancy in his statement of expenses.
Mr. Ranade, who was present at the book release function, said the MP did not make the remarks in jest; he knew the implications of what he was saying, especially since he had expressed the hope that no EC official was around.