NEW DELHI: Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan remains unfazed by the show cause notice issued to him by the Election Commission.
In fact, Chavan said this only vindicated his and the Congress' stand that "there is no question of paid news."
"Our stand on the paid news issue has been confirmed by the Election Commission. Even the High Court and Supreme Court had taken a similar stand when our opponents had filed a petition. The courts had rejected their petition. Now this (EC) order is also very clear. There is no question of paid news," Chavan told Press Trust of India over phone.
Chavan claimed that he had himself pleaded with the Commission to give him an opportunity to file electoral expenses as required by law and he will now do this as notice has been issued to him.
"There is a provision under which a notice can be served to us. We will reply to that. I have not seen the order in detail yet. But the issue of paid news is ruled out totally," Chavan said.
The notice relates to the election to the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly held in September-October 2009 wherein Chavan was the candidate from the Bhokar seat.
The complainants who include rival contestant Madhavrao Kinhalkar, Bharatiya Janata Party vice president Kirit Somaiya, BJP MP Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and five others had alleged in their submission made before the Election Commission that Chavan got several advertisements published in various regional newspapers during the poll campaign.
The complainants had alleged that the advertisements which appeared in newspapers in the garb of news eulogising Chavan and his achievements as Chief Minister, were "paid news".
It was alleged by them that a huge expenditure was incurred or authorised by Chavan for getting those advertisements and the articles published as news, and that the expenditure incurred or authorised on the publication of those paid news was not included by Chavan in his account of election expenses maintained under section 77 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.