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Chawla gave info to Congress leaders: CEC

Chawla gave info to Congress leaders: CEC

Author: Akshaya Mukul
Publication: The Times of India
Date: February 3, 2009

Accusing election commissioner Navin Chawla of leaking inside info, CEC N Gopalaswami has cited the 2005 Bihar polls during which the Congress and the RJD had accused then advisor to the EC K J Rao of having called them Pakistanis. A check of the CD of Rao's visit and the district magistrate's report had proved that he was innocent. But Chawla said even if Rao was innocent, there should be a repoll. With the CEC and the other election commissioner S Y Quraishi on the other side, Chawla wanted to write a note of dissent. Curiously, he wanted this, just like his file notings on issuing a notice to Sonia, to be kept confidential.

A major part of the CEC's complaint relates to the manner in which Chawla is believed to have leaked information to outsiders, in most cases Congress leaders. The fact that Gujarat would have a three-phase poll was known only to the CEC and the two ECs. But when a Congress leader called the CEC requesting him for a two-phase poll and even promising 150 more battalions of central forces, which was followed by a call from the home secretary, Gopalaswami confronted Chawla. But he flatly denied having leaked it.

Gopalaswami has also charged that in Sonia's Leopold honour case, every time the file went to Chawla, there would be an outside intervention. When the file went to Chawla first, principal secretary to the PM, T K A Nair, came to meet the CEC. The second time the file went to Chawla, a letter from Abhishek Singhvi arrived at the EC about the notice to the Congress president that was still to be decided. Chawla wanted the EC to take cognisance of that letter since Singhvi could not have written it without Sonia's permission. Chawla went to the extent of saying, "I understand the Congress culture.''

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