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AAP office of profit case: EC hearing adjourned for Aug 20


New Delhi, July 23: The Election Commission today adjourned for August 20 its hearing on a plea to disqualify 20 Delhi AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office of profit as they moved the Delhi High Court challenging the poll panel decision rejecting their demand to cross examine the petitioner who had sought their removal as lawmakers.

Arvind Kejriwal

The MLAs told the poll panel that they have moved the HC challenging its order rejecting their plea to cross-examine petitioner Prashant Patel, who had sought their disqualification on the charge of holding office-of-profit.

The EC then adjourned the hearing for August 20.

In its July 17 order, the poll panel said it does not find merit in AAP MLAs' plea to cross examine Patel to prove that they were not holding any office-of-profit..

Patel, an advocate, had claimed that by being parliamentary secretaries, the 21 AAP lawakers held office of profit and were liable for being disqualified as MLAs of the Delhi assembly.

One of the MLAs had later resigned.

Following a directive from the Delhi High Court, the Election Commission is hearing afresh the case related to disqualification of 20 AAP MLAs for allegedly holding office-of-profit by virtue of their appointment as parliamentary secretaries.

The EC had, on January 19, recommended the disqualification of the 20 AAP MLAs. President Ram Nath Kovind had accepted the poll panel's opinion the next day

But the EC's move was quashed by the Delhi High Court, terming it "bad in law".

The Delhi AAP lawmakers had moved the plea in EC on May 16 for cross-examination of Patel, and officials of the assembly and city government to prove that they were not holding any office-of-profit by being appointed as parliamentary secretaries.

The 20 MLAs include, Adarsh Shastri (Dwarka), Alka Lamba (Chandni Chowk), Anil Bajpai (Gandhi Nagar), Avtar Singh (Kalkaji), Kailash Gahlot (Najafgarh) -- who is also a minister -- Madan Lal (Kasturba Nagar), Manoj Kumar (Kondli), Naresh Yadav (Mehrauli), Nitin Tyagi (Laxmi Nagar), Praveen Kumar (Jangpura).

Others are: Rajesh Gupta (Wazirpur), Rajesh Rishi ( Janakpuri), Sanjeev Jha (Burari), Sarita Singh (Rohtas Nagar), Som Dutt (Sadar Bazar), Sharad Kumar (Narela), Shiv Charan Goel (Moti Nagar), Sukhbir Singh (Mundka), Vijendar Garg (Rajinder Nagar) and Jarnail Singh (Tilak Nagar).


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