New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday night let off Union Minister Beni Prasad Verma with a warning for his remarks on Muslim sub-quota and closed the model code of conduct violation case against him accepting his "remorse and sincere regret" for the utterances.
The Commission said it was ending the matter in view of the regrets expressed by the Steel Minister and in the wake of the complainant BJP deciding not to pursue the matter further.
"It is apparent that Shri Verma has not denied that he violated the model code of conduct and has expressed his unqualified regrets for the same.
"He has also shown his highest regard for the conduct of free and fair elections by the Commission and expressed his sincerest regrets, if any, of his comments in his impugned statement have caused anguish to the Commission", the EC said adding Verma "has, thus, shown his commitment to the cause of free and fair elections and also his remorse for violating the model code of conduct".
The EC order said the Commission "hopes and expects that Shri Beni Prasad Verma would be careful not to violate the model code of conduct in future and would be more circumspect in his public utterances during election campaigns when the atmosphere is already surcharged and any violation of model code of conduct may lead to serious consequences of promoting ill-will or disharmony among various sections of citizens".
While addressing a poll rally on the night of February 15 in Farukkabad in the presence of Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh and Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Verma had said "reservation for Muslims will be increased and if EC wants, it can now issue a notice to me."
The Union Minister was issued a show cause notice by EC on February 18 by the Election Commission over his remarks after holding that prima facie it was a violation of the model code of conduct and sought his reply.