Taken to task
It seems after years of stonewalling judicial and legal proceedings against himself, Ashok Chavan’s luck has finally run out. The Election Commission’s firm notice saying that the former Maharashtra chief minister and present MP from Nanded needs to explain why he incorrectly reported his expenditure during the 2009 state assembly polls, or else face disqualification as per the Representation of the People (RP) Act and rules, is indication that the Congress party must start paying for the sins of its decade-long innings. Chavan, who has long escaped judicial and legal proceedings, in cases like Adarsh Housing Society scam, wherein the CBI, under the aegis of previous UPA regime, had gone to extent to moving Bombay High Court to delete his name from the chargesheet, now has to answer the poll panel’s legitimate question asking him to explain his stance. For long, Chavan could hide behind legal scruples since he had resigned from Maharashtra state legislature and contested the Lok Sabha elections, going on to become the parliamentarian from Nanded, which had posed a problem for the EC on whether or not to go ahead with pressing charges against him. However, that was hardly a real legal problem since the RP Act expressly forbids those guilty of breaching it from continuing in the elected posts as well as would disqualify the person concerned from contesting in either the two houses of Parliament or state legislatures. It is unfortunate that in this country legal proceedings become inextricably bound to regime changes and shifting sands of political fortunes instead of following the very course of law itself. That said, Chavan needs to come clear whether he allowed paid news to be published to shore his electoral chances in the assembly poll.