In the first case of action against a politician for paid news, the Election Commission (EC) on Thursday disqualified a woman MLA from Uttar Pradesh for three years, holding her guilty of filing an incorrect statement of election expenditure incurred on news items in two Hindi newspapers.
The decision to disqualify Umlesh Yadav, an MLA belonging to Rashtriya Parivartan Dal, headed by controversial politician DP Yadav, could have ramifications on other cases, including that of former Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan.
A complaint against Chavan on paid news is pending before the Election Commission.
The three-member Commission headed by CEC SY Quraishi took the decision on a complaint filed by losing candidate Yogendra Kumar, whose complaint with the Press Council of India (PCI) was upheld and formed the basis for the EC's action.
Kumar had complained that July last year two Hindi dailies had published "paid news" items in favour of Yadav in their papers on April 17, 2007, a day before the voting.