The nomination of Ashok Kheny, managing director of NICE, from the Bidar South Assembly constituency has been challenged on three grounds — that his Indian citizenship is suspect, that he holds an office of profit and that his election to the Assembly would result in a conflict of interest as he has an ongoing civil contract with the government.
The objections were received during scrutiny on Thursday. The Returning Officer has kept Mr. Kheny’s nomination pending and has issued notices to Mr. Kheny and the complainants.
T. J. Abraham, who is contesting against Mr. Kheny as an independent candidate, has said that he holds a U.S. citizenship. He has also sought rejection on the grounds that Mr. Kheny’s contract with the State government is still valid.
In a letter addressed to the Chief Election Commissioner V. Sampath, Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha and the Returning Officer, Mr. Abraham has argued that Mr. Kheny had entered into such contracts with the U.S. government that are awarded only to U.S. citizens. He has also acquired property in that country had invested money in financial instruments that suggest that he is a citizen of that country, he said.
Mr. Abraham’s second complaint is that Section 9A of the Representation of Peoples Act prohibits Mr. Kheny from contesting the elections as he has entered into a contract with the government in 1996, which has not ended yet.
Bandeppa Kashempur, former Minister who is trying to retain his seat from Bidar South, has said Mr Kheny holds an office of profit.
Mr. Kheny is the managing director of Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises. This firm earns profits from construction of roads, bridges, townships and houses. It earns profits by building and leasing houses and collects road toll and taxes. Hence his nominations should be rejected, he said in a complaint.
Mr Kheny denied the allegations on Thursday. He said he had produced a copy of his Indian passport to prove his citizenship. He said he holds no office of profit under the definition of the Representation of Peoples Act.
The Returning Officer for Bidar South constituency has issued notices to Mr. Kashempur, Mr. Abraham and Mr. Kheny. They will be heard in the RO’s office in Bidar on Friday.