ECI conducts final hearing in Ashok Chavan ‘paid news’ case

MUMBAI: Election Commission on Monday conducted the final hearing in the case of alleged “paid news” and ashokfurnishing of “incorrect” election accounts against former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan.
The full bench of the EC comprising Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) V S Sampath and Election Commissioners H S Brahma and S N A Zaidi heard the final arguments from both the sides and a final decision in this regard has been reserved.
“Today was the last day of arguments in this case. We had detailed arguments where both the sides gave their statements. The Commission has reserved its order,” Chavan’s lawyer Abhimanyu Bhandari told PTI after over three hours of hearing at the EC headquarters here. Bhandari said the team of lawyers representing Chavan told the EC bench that there was “no evidence” against the former CM and “no case was made out” against him.
From the complainants side, former Maharashtra minister Madhavrao Kinhalkar said they presented all their evidence to the EC and were hopeful of a favourable verdict from the poll panel. Sources said the EC has now asked both the sides to submit their replies on the arguments held today and once this is done in the next few days, the EC is expected to deliver a final order. The Commission had last month framed five charges against Chavan who recently won Lok Sabha polls from Nanded in Maharashtra.
The EC, on the directions of the Supreme Court, had issued a notice to Chavan in May last to appear before it in connection with the case of alleged expenses made by him during the 2009 polls which were categorised as “paid news”.

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