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Ex-Law Minister : CEC Alone Can Decide On EC

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 7 (UNI) Former Law Minister Arun Jaitley tonight dismissed speculation of a ''clean chit'' to Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, whose removal over corruption allegations has been sought by opposition.

''The advice can only be by the Chief Election Commissioner,'' Mr Jaitley said, commenting on reports that the ''clean chit'' was based on a legal opinion furnished to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by Attorney General Milon Banerjee.

Neither the Prime Minister nor the AG has jurisdiction in the matter, he asserted, adding that only the CEC could recommend his removal or continuance.

One accused cannot give a clean chit to another, Mr Jaitley said.

He said even such an attempt amounted to usurping and interloping.

Chawla has been in the dock over his family trusts getting money under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme from Congress MPs.

More than 200 National Democratic Alliance and other MPs have petitioned President A P J Abdul Kalam demanding Chawla's removal.

President Kalam sent the memorandum to Prime Minister Singh who sought legal opinion in the matter.

The AG reportedly saw no misconduct by Chawla as Election Commissioner.

The AG was not immediately available. Someone who answered the telephone at his home said he was ''out of town.'' UNI MJ PA RS2343

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