The Election Commission on Thursday concluded hearing on a case seeking to disqualify Ashok Chavan as member of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly over the “paid news component” of his poll campaign.

A complaint filed before the Election Commission by Madhav Kinhalkar, an Independent candidate who lost the Bhokar Assembly poll, challenged Mr. Chavan’s claim that he had spent around Rs. 11,000 on placing advertisements during his election campaign.

Mr. Chavan received coverage in newspapers with advertisements in the garb of news, the complaint says.

The EC had issued notice to Mr. Chavan in January last year in the case and the hearings had begun in July last year.

BJP leader Kirit Somaiya had also petitioned the Commission on the issue.

Mr. Chavan’s counsel Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the Commission had given 15 days for both the sides to make written submissions following which it would decide on the date of the verdict.

Mr. Singhvi also questioned the jurisdiction of the Election Commission to inquire into the issue of paid news contending that such charges should be inquired only by the High Court.

Keywords: paid news issue