BJP leader and Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Gopinath Munde, who was issued a show cause notice by the Election Commission, for allegedly claiming that he had spent about Rs. 8 crore in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll (exceeding the then permissible election expenditure limit of Rs. 25 lakh) has sought for four weeks’ time to send his reply. He also wanted the Election Commission to provide him with the copies of the reports about his election expenditure submitted by the then election expenditure observer and the Returning Officer and also wanted some documents pertaining to that election from the Election Commission.
In a letter sent to the Commission, through his counsel, Mr. Munde wanted the EC to provide him the copies of the reports about his election expenditure submitted by the then election expenditure observer and the Returning Officer/District. Election Officer of Beed Lok Sabha constituency, from where he was elected in the 2009 Lok Sabha election. It was before the Returning Officer he had filed his election expenditure account at that time.
Informed sources told “The Hindu” that however Mr. Munde did not make any comment about his speech (regarding Rs.8 crore expenditure) delivered in Mumbai, on June 27, during a book release function, which created a lot of controversy.
The Commission might consider providing him some time for giving reply to the show cause notice but not four weeks as sought by him. But the documents sought by him were likely to be given to him in a day or two “in the interest of natural justice”. Sources pointed out that in the show-cause notice, dated June 29, Mr. Munde was given 20 days time to reply.
In its notice, the EC had 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”.
The EC added that: “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” for being an MP.
While, Mr. Munde, in his election expenditure account, filed on June 8, 2009, had shown an expenditure of only Rs.19,36,922, whereas 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”.
A copy of the CD, containing Mr.Munde’s controversial speech, was also sent along with the EC’s notice to him.