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Maharashtra: SEC pulls up Deshmukh
January 22, 2007 20:12 IST
The battle of nerves between State Election Commissioner Nand Lal and Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh worsened on Monday with the SEC charging him with "trying to influence the functioning of the commission."
The commission also asked Deshmukh to pay to the state government the expenses incurred during his air travel to Pune and Kolhapur districts last month to attend, what it called, "political and private functions."
In a nine-page missive, Lal took strong objection to Deshmukh's aircraft and helicopter travel to the two districts in the last week of December to attend the functions.
The SEC detailed the nature of each of the functions Deshmukh attended and dubbed them as "political and private functions" aimed at influencing voters when the code of conduct for local bodies elections was in effect.
Deshmukh should pay the expenditure by February 2, the SEC order said.
Lal said Deshmukh has tried to influence the functioning of the commission. He gave the recent delimitation exercise for Assembly and Parliamentary seats as a case in point.
Lal named Congress Ministers Balasaheb Thorat and Patangrao Kadam as those who tried to mediate on behalf of Deshmukh on the issue of delimitation of Latur Lok Sabha seat.