The Election Commission has let off senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Gopinath Munde, in connection with his speech early this year when he claimed to have spent Rs 8 crore in his election campaign, with an advice to be "mindful of his political discourse" in the future.
"Having regard to the totality of the facts, circumstances of the case and submissions and admissions made by Munde in his petition in writing and the oral submissions made in person during the hearing, the commission has decided to accept his (Munde's) explanation and drop the proceedings, against him under section 10A of the RP Act, 1951," the commission said in its order.
"He (Munde) is, however, advised to be mindful of his political discourse in future so that the controversies of the present nature are not generated in future," the EC said.
The Commission said it has taken into cognisance Munde's explanation that "the figure of Rs 8 crore, referred to in his speech, was only illustrative in general terms and not admission of his own expense".
"He submitted that he had faithfully maintained a true account of his election expenses which was verified and accepted by election authorities. He also submitted that on occasions such as book launches, speakers tend to keep their academic and scholastic foot forward and there is always a substantial element of hyperbole which is introduced to make their statements more appealing to the audience.
"He regretted that his above referred utterances created an ambiguity that might have led to the controversy in question, and assured that he would be careful about his public utterances in future," the EC recorded in its order issued to the BJP leader.
Munde also told the EC that the figure of Rs 8 crore mentioned by him was "relatable more" to the campaign expenditure incurred by the party and not to his expenditure.
"He, thus maintained that the figure of Rs 8 crore, referred to in his speech, was only illustrative in general terms and not admission of his own expense," the EC order stated.
Munde said he was a senior office bearer of his party and hence he had to coordinate poll campaigns in various constituencies in Maharashtra and western India and hence the total expenditure of the party and the candidates could have gone as high as Rs 8 crore.
Munde was slapped an EC notice after he made an alleged statement in June in Mumbai that he spent Rs 8 crore during his 2009 Lok Sabha election.