Alleges fielding dummy candidate in same constituency
Geetanjali Minhas | April 18, 2014
AAP has alleged that senior Congress leader Gurudas Kamat has indulged in corrupt electoral practices as per Section 123, subsection 4 of Representation of People Act, 1951 and 171G, 171H of Indian Penal Code. The party has lodged complaints against Kamat with Returning Officer 27- Mumbai North West parliamentary constituency and has sought Kamat’s disqualification on the grounds of corrupt electoral practices.
AAP has alleged that Pratik Toraskar, independent candidate in 27-Mumbai North West parliamentary constituency is a dummy candidate fielded by Kamat a Congress candidate in the same constituency. Relying on documentary proof the party says a Congress office bearer, Mahesh Malik who has been duly authorized by Kamat to procure vehicle permissions and correspond with officials at the office of the returning officer (RO) of the constituency is also the authorized representative of Pratik Toraskar.
This was noticed by Ruben Mascarenhas, campaign manager of Mayank Gandhi, Aam Aadmi Party Candidate during the scrutiny proceedings in the chamber of the RO on 7th April, 2014. Malik had raised objections over Shiv Sena leader Gajanan Kirtikar not disclosing assets of his second wife Vidisha Gajanan Kirtikar, a director in his company and instead choosing to divulge details of assets of his first wife Meghana Gajanan Kirtikar. Kirtikar’s representative Anil Parab questioned Malik’s stand as he had earlier contested elections under its symbol. In view of this he could not act as election agent for an independent candidate.
On 21st January 2012, DNA had reported that Malik is Gurudas Kamat’s personal assistant. In the same year Malik contested BMC elections on INC ticket. AAP says it later found that on several occasions on Kamat’s letterhead, Malik has been authorized to obtain vehicle permissions for campaigning. As of 8th April, 2014, Mumbai North West district committee Congress website (www.mumbainwdcc.com) showed Mahesh Malik as the Vice-President, Mumbai North West district committee Congress. The website has now been taken down. Besides, as of 8th April 2014, screenshots of Malik’s personal Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mahesh.k.malik.1) with display picture and cover photo evinced Malik as present Congress party member including tags saying “I support Gurudas Kamat”.
The party has lodged complaints with returning officer 27-Mumbai North West parliamentary constituency against Kamat for posting pamphlets in sealed envelopes without having requisite number of copies printed on them and distributing laminated and coloured voter slips to voters with candidate information which is a violation under the model code of conduct. Asking RO to take cognizance on extravagant expenditure being incurred by Kamat the party has also lodged a complaint against Kiritkar for willfull suppression of information of assets of his second wife in his affidavit filed along with his nomination on 10th April 2014 besides other complaints of violations against the Shiv Sena.
Countering Gandhi’s allegations in a press release Kamat has said that Mallik is supposed to have accompanied some independent candidate during a meeting with the RO where his chief election agent Dr Manhas emphatically stated that Mallik had nothing to do with them. He has warned Gandhi against making false allegations and taking him to court for defamation.
When contacted a miffed Malik said, “with effect from 5th April I have resigned and not affiliated to party at all. The party has inducted my rebels Baba and Mahindra Ladke responsible for my defeat in municipal elections.”
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