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Varun accused of doling out money

india Updated: Mar 20, 2009 01:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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In fresh trouble for BJP’s Varun Gandhi, the Election Commission on Thursday sought a report from the Pilibhit district administration on allegations that he distributed money on March 4, as part of his poll campaign.

“The Commission got some inputs regarding alleged distribution of money by the BJP candidate from Pilibhit, and has sought a report from the district magistrate," Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Electoral Officer Anuj Kumar Bishnoi told reporters.

Gandhi, already under fire for his alleged hate speech against the Muslims, fearing arrest moved the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail.

Gandhi also filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court seeking quashing of the two police cases registered against him on the directions of the Election Commission.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh termed Gandhi’s words as unfortunate. “If Varun Gandhi’s comments are correct, then it is very unfortunate,” Singh told reporters.

The Election Commission continued its tough stand against Gandhi. “It is for him to prove that the video showing him making a communally charged speech is doctored,” a commission source said.

On a day when Gandhi was in search of a legal remedy to wriggle out of the tight spot, Pilibhit District Magistrate M.P. Agarwal said the allegations that he had distributed money recently to some people in a village were found true.

“A complaint was received that Gandhi during his visit to Bisalpur village on March four, allegedly distributed Rs 10,000 to kin of a vendor killed a few days back and Rs 5,000 to a few others,” Sub-Divisional Magistrate M A Akhtar said.

There was no word from Gandhi on the latest allegations. He approached the Delhi High Court seeking anticipatory bail. His lawyer said there was an apprehension of his arrest since the provision for anticipatory bail was not available in Uttar Pradesh. The court was likely to hear his application on Friday.

He also moved the Allahabad HC seeking quashing of the FIR which, he claimed, was a result of “a political conspiracy”.

In his petition, Gandhi challenged the FIR filed on March 17, saying it was filed nine days after he made the speeches. “It is a part of a political conspiracy” to spoil his political career and tarnish his “secular image”.

He has also alleged that the video footage of a public meeting, on the basis of which the Election Commission has taken the action, “has been tampered with” and did not contain his voice.