M A I N   N E W S

EC lets off Laloo with warning
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, January 17
The Election Commission today found Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Laloo Prasad Yadav guilty of violating the Model Code of Conduct by distributing money to people in Patna.

Reprimanding the RJD leader, the three-member poll panel, however, let off Laloo Yadav with a stern warning that he and his party members would attract “exemplary action” if the code was violated by the party again.

The EC said this was the last warning for the party and its members to follow the code in letter and spirit.

The order by the commission said “There can be no two opinion that Laloo Prasad did violate the code by distributing money to electors on the eve of elections and during the period when that code was in force.”

“The commission severely condemns this serious violation of the code,” the order said, adding “Ordinarily, this serious violation of the code by Laloo Prasad should invite exemplary punishment to the party which he heads as its president, apart from severe condemnation.”

It said “The commission has, however, taken note of the repeated assurances given by Laloo Prasad to observe the code in his reply to the show-cause notice. In these circumstances, the commission would not like to pursue this matter further against the RJD.”

Reprimanding Laloo Prasad for violating the code, the poll panel, however, warned that “It would like to caution the party and all its leaders, workers and supporters that this is the last opportunity to them to honour the code and abide by it, both in letter and spirit and it would not hesitate to take exemplary action against the party in case any further violation of the code or lawful directions of the commission from time to time for ensuring free and fair poll comes to notice of the commission.”

The commission had issued a show-cause notice Laloo Prasad and the RJD for distributing money to people in Patna.

While admitting that he had given Rs 400 to four women of Ebrahimpur village, Laloo Yadav claimed that he paid that money to those women as they demanded “mithai” on his becoming Union Minister and villagers were not allowing his Garib Chetna Rath to cross that village unless he gave some “mithai.”

The commission said in matter of violation of code, it was not the strict rules of evidence that apply; what matters was the general perception in the minds of public, particularly the electorate, political parties and rival candidates as to how they viewed the acts of commission and ommission of other political parties, their leaders and their workers and supporters.

“It is an undeniable fact that the whole nation’s conscience felt disturbed on seeing, in the print and electronic media, Laloo Prasad openly holding a wad of currency notes in his hands and distributing them to several women, which he himself admits,” the order said.

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |