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PMO consulting Law, Home Ministries on EC Navin Chawla

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 30 (UNI) The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is in the process of securing the views of the Home and Law Ministries on the NDA petition seeking the removal of Election Commissioner Navin Chawla for receiving funds from Congress MPs for a charitable trust run by his wife.

The government swung into action the moment President A P J Abdul Kalam forwarded the petition to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about a fortnight ago, official sources said today.

In the light of the observations of the Law and Home Ministries, the government might also seek the opinion from Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon, the sources said.

A final view on the petition would be taken on the basis of the observations from the two ministries and the CEC. It would then be put up before Dr Kalam for a decision on the demand for Mr Chawla's removal in the light of the charge that the trust received funds from the MPs Local Area Development (MPLAD) scheme.

Dr Kalam forwarded the petition to the Prime Minister as the President appoints the CEC and the EC on the recommendations of the Centre, the sources explained.

Though the NDA had submitted the petition on March 16 demanding the immediate removal of Mr Chawla in view of the April/May assembly elections in four states -- Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal and Assam -- and Pondicherry, the sources were not sure of a decision was possible before the polls.

In the 12-page petition, signed by 205 MPs, including BJP President Rajnath Singh and his predecessor L K Advani, NDA Convenor George Farnandes, the opposition said, ''The Election Commission must be absolutely impartial. It must also appear to be impartial.'' In view of this, Mr Chawla must be removed from the sensitive post of EC, the NDA had contended.

Mr Chawla was accused of misusing Congress MPLAD scheme for the Lepra India Trust run by his wife. Among the Congress MPs who allegedly provided funds from the MPLAD scheme are Mr A A Khan, Mr R P Goenka, Ms Ambika Soni, Dr Karan Singh and Mr A R Kidwai. The trust was allotted six acres of land by the Rajasthan government when when Mr Ashok Gehlot (Cong) was the chief minister.

UNI SN MSJ HS1741

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