New Delhi: Opposition Presidential nominee P A Sangma on Monday sought cancellation of nomination of UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee under the Office of Profit rules on the ground that he is Chairman of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI).

In a complaint to the Secretary General, Rajya Sabha, who is the returning officer for the Presidential election, Sangma's lawyer Satpal Jain demanded that Mukherjee's papers be cancelled at the scrutiny stage as he holds an office of profit.

Jain said that Mukherjee is chairperson of ISI and, hence, cannot contest the Presidential poll under the Office of Profit rules.

Monday is the last day for scrutiny of forms for the Presidential election. The last date of withdrawal of candidature is July 4.

Asked about the complaint, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal told reporters here, "We will get back."

This is the second high-profile instance involving a leader under the Office of Profit rules. Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had resigned her Lok Sabha seat in 2006 when there were objections that as Chairperson, National Advisory Council (NAC), she was holding an Office of Profit. She contested and won the Rae Bareli seat again.

Later, the Office of Profit rules were amended and Chairperson, NAC was exempted from it. Gandhi again became Chairperson of the body in March 2010.

Pranab does not hold office of profit: P K Bansal

Rejecting P A Sangma's claim and objection, government on Monday said that UPA nominee Pranab Mukherjee resigned as Chairman of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) a week before he filed his nomination in the President's election and does not hold any office of profit.

"He (Mukherjee) had resigned as Chairman, ISI, on June 20, a week before he filed his nominations," Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal said shortly after Sangma's camp filed a petition seeking cancellation of the UPA's candidate's nomination on grounds of holding an office of profit.

Bansal, the authorised representative of Mukherjee, said he and Home Minister P Chidambaram met Mukherjee after Sangma's claim and they were told by him of his resignation well in advance of filing the nomination.

"Pranab Mukherjee would be filing a written reply to the Returning Officer by 3 PM on Tuesday," the Parliamentary Affairs Minister said.

Bansal said Sangma's claim was factually incorrect, legally ill-conceived and untenable.


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