New Delhi: Opposition nominee PA Sangma on Monday tried to put a spanner in UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee's Presidential bid by seeking cancellation of his nomination under the Office of Profit rules but his office and the government rejected it.

Sangma wrote to Rajya Sabha Secretary General V K Agnihotri, who is the returning officer for the Persidential election, claiming that Mukherjee was the Chairman of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) and therefore his nomination papers should be rejected.


Pranab resigned as ISI chairman on June 20

The government as well as Mukherjee's office rejected the claim, saying he had resigned from the post days before filing nomination papers for the July 19 Presidential poll.

"He (Mukherjee) had resigned as Chairman, ISI, on June 20, a week before he filed his nominations," Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal said.

"Pranab babu has already submitted his resignation as ISI council chairman on June 20. But by mistake, Mukherjee's name continues to be on the ISI official website. It still consists of names of several retired and veterans of ISI," an ISI official said.

The official also said "This has nothing to do with his resignation as union finance minister. Pranab babu's post of chairman was literally an honorary post. He never received any honorarium and there was no reimbursement on his travel expenses."

Bansal, Chidambaram meet Pranab

A close aide of Mukherjee also said  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.

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

Pranab to file written reply tomorrow

"Pranab Mukherjee would be filing a written reply to the Returning Officer by 3 PM tomorrow," Bansal said.

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


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