Paid news case: Ashok Chavan has reasons to worry
Few months ahead of State Assembly election, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan caught in a fresh trouble after the Election Commission on Sunday held him guilty of fudging his poll expenses during State elections in 2009. The major blow came at a time when Congress is reeling under leadership crisis in the State. Acting on Supreme Court’s order, the apex poll body even slapped a show cause notice on him for failing to lodge his election expenses as per law in a paid news case and asked him to file a reply within 20 days on why he should not be disqualifed. The development could cost former Maharashtra Chief Minister dearly who was slowly emerging out of dark shadow of Adarsh taint and has a major role to play in ensuing Assembly election. The case so far… The case pertains to the paid news complaint filed by former Minister and Independent candidate Dr Madhavrao Kinhalkar and others against Chavan in the 2009 Maharashtra Assembly election, when he was the incumbent Chief Minister. In his complaint Kinhalkar alleged use of paid news reports by Chavan in Bhokar Assembly seat in Nanded. The complainants alleged that a number of news items, marked as “advertisement” and “advertorial”, appeared in different newspapers, pamphlets and magazines praising Chavan. The complaint also said, “paid news published for consideration in kind or cash for promoting or procuring the election of the respondent (Chavan)”. The complainant said that Chavan even failed to submit the expenditure incurred on the publication of such news items in the account of his poll expenses. Following the allegations, Chavan moved the Bombay High Court and then the Supreme Court against the complaintants.