New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Election Commission to proceed with its probe into the authenticity of former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's spending during the 2009 state assembly polls allegedly involving expenses on "paid news".

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameshwar, however, asked the Commission's counsel Meenakshi Arora to ensure that findings of the probe if completed are "kept in a sealed cover".

The bench passed the order on an application moved by former state minister Madhav Kinhalkar seeking direction to the Commission to complete the probe before June 10 as the present Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi is due to demit office by that date.

Acceding to the plea, the apex court said the Commission can go ahead with the probe and the findings but these shall not be made public.

The bench further posted for hearing on Thursday the Special Leave Petition filed by Chavan challenging the Commission's jurisdiction to entertain the complaint of "paid news" against him.

On November 3, 2011 a three-judge bench of justices Altamas Kabir, S S Nijjar and J Chelameswar temporarily halted the Commission from probing Chavan's poll account on his appeal against a Delhi High Court order, which had allowed the probe.

While staying the EC probe, the apex court bench had also issued notices to the poll panel, the Maharashtra unit of the BJP and other complainants including Kinhalkar, BJP leaders Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and Kirit Somaiyya on whose plea the probe had been launched.


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