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Maharashtra poll chief moves HC

Nand Lal declares war on Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, accusing him of "political vendetta", challenges his conviction in the Bombay High Court.

india Updated: Mar 29, 2008 01:01 IST

After spending a night in prison on the orders of the state assembly, Maharashtra's Election Commissioner Nand Lal was released on Friday and immediately declared war on Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, accusing him of "political vendetta". He has challenged his conviction in the Bombay High Court.

The state assembly had on Thursday approved a resolution sentencing the former IAS officer to two days "simple custody" following a report of the House Privileges Committee in a breach of privilege matter against him in 2006. Soon after, Nand Lal was picked up by plainclothes policemen from his office and taken to the Arthur Road Jail.

Shortly after his release, Nand Lal, accused Deshmukh of "exerting pressure through intermediaries to de-reserve his constituency Latur in Marathwada region". "The CM is behind all this," he said, indicating that there may have been pressure on the Assembly Speaker to take a certain stance on the breach of privilege matter.

Deshmukh, for his part, denied ever having exerted pressure on Nand Lal over the delimitation exercise and accused him of "lying". "The allegation Lal that there was pressure from me for de-reserving Latur is baseless," he said.

Nand Lal was released at 10.30 a.m. Explaining why he was not required to spend two full days in jail, a Vidhan Bhawan official said: "He was sentenced to two days simple custody, not 48-hour simple custody. He was taken into custody before sunset yesterday, counted as the first day, and released after sunrise today, counted as the second day."