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EC to act on petitions against Sonia, Somnath

By Super

New Delhi, Mar 24: Irrespective of the resignation of Congress President Sonia Gandhi as a Lok Sabha member, the Election Commission is going ahead with the process of assessing the complaints against her, Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and 14 other MPs and four Jharkhand MLAs, seeking their disqualification for holding offices of profit.

EC sources today said the commission would shortly send out letters to Telugu Desam (TDP) Parliamentary Party leader Yerran Naidu and other TDP MPs who have complained against Ms Gandhi, Dr Karan Singh, Dr T Subbarami Reddy and Ms Kapila Vatsayan, seeking more information from them. Dr Singh and Ms Varsayan have also quit as MPs, taking a cue from Ms Gandhi.

Ms Gandhi is facing another complaint from one Mr Sanjay Jaruliya, who will also be asked to throw more light on the issue, the sources said.

The EC is also seeking additional details from the complainants who have sought the disqualification of Mr Chanderpal Singh Yadav and Ms Anuradha Choudhary. The complainants are Mr Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma, MP, and Mr Mahaksingh Mallick respectively.

The commission has already sent out communications to Mr Mukul Roy who has sought the disqualification of Mr Chatterjee and nine others, Mohammed Salim, Hannan Mollah, Lakshman Seth, Amitava Nandi, Sudhanshu Sil, Tarit Baran Topdar, Banmasagopal Chowdhury, Sujan Chakraborty and Nilotpal Basu.

While the commission is going ahead in the case of the 16 MPs at the instance of President A P J Abdul Kalam, the move against four Jharkhand MLAs, Khiru Mahto, Karia Munda, Saryu Rai and Chattruram Mahto, follows a reference received from the state Governor.

After collecting more information from the complainants, the EC would issue notices to the MPs and MLAs, asking them to plead their cases through their lawyers, if necessary.

The EC recommendations based on its findings would be binding on the President and the Governor under Article 102 of the Constitution as had happened in the case of Ms Jaya Bachchan who was disqualified by Dr Kalam, the sources said.

CEC B B Tandon has, meanwhile, confirmed the receipt of complaints against Ms Gandhi and Mr Chatterjee.


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