State CEO Nandlal held for two days

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Mumbai, Mar 27 (UNI) In an unprecedented move, State Chief Electoral Officer Nandlal was arrested after the Maharashtra Legislative Assembly approved two days simple imprisonment for the seniormost bureaucrat for breach of privilege of the House.

The Assembly approved the decision against Mr Nandlal for not presenting himself before the Privilege Committeee despite being summoned repeatedly.

Mr Nandlal, who has been at loggerheads with Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh for a long time over the delimitation of Latur -- the home constituency of Mr Deshmukh -- described the punishment as a ''political vendetta''.

''I will fight against the injustice,'' he told reporters before being taken away by the police.

Earlier, the Privilege Committee report was read by chairman Chandrakant Chhajed (Cong) which recommended seven days simple imprisonment. However, later, Mr Deshmukh recommended that the punishment be reduced to two days simple imprisonment.

The breach of privilege notice was served by Congress MLA Prof Janardan Chandurkar on March 27, 2006, was regarding the notification issued by Mr Nandlal for holding the internal elections of mayor, sarpanch, zilla parishads.

The notice contended that although the right to conduct local bodies elections rested with the State Election Commission, it was the State Government's right to conduct the internal elections, including election of mayors.

The government had also passed the bill on this issue in the House. However, Mr Nandlal had termed the bill as ''wrong'' and issued fresh notification for holding elections.

Mr Chandurkar immediately moved a privilege motion on this issue. Mr Nandlal was repeatedly called before the Committee but he always avoided and deputed junior officers for the same.

The Committee, a quasi-judicial authority, asked him to come personally but he avoided till the last. Later, the Committee sought the opinion of Advocate General who said this was tantamount to a contempt of the House.

Following this, the Committee recommended that Nandlal should undergo seven days simple imprisonment.


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