The Maharashtra electoral officer has received about 70 complaints of alleged paid news from across the State, a senior EC official told The Hindu on Thursday. “The district collectors of the respective areas have asked the candidates to file their replies on the alleged paid news stories.”The official said that further action would be taken after the district-level committees scrutinised the candidates’ replies.

During a recent visit to Mumbai, Election Commissioner H.S. Brahma had described the city as the “known capital of paid news”.

Later, following a series of angry questions, he backtracked and extended an apology. “The matter ends if the candidate agrees to it [scrutiny] and shows the expenditure in his affidavit,” the official said.