Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken today sought rejection of the nomination of AAP’s candidate for Rajya Sabha, N D Gupta, for allegedly holding an office of profit, even as the latter rejected the charges. In his objection filed with the returning officer, Maken claimed that Gupta is “currently holding the office of a trustee of the National Pension System Trust. He was appointed on March 30”. Maken also alleged that Gupta held the office of the chairman of the Audit Committee of the National Pension System Trust. However, Returning Officer Nidhi Srivastava said that she would take decision in this regard on Monday. A senior officer of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Office also said that a hearing was scheduled for both parties on Monday. In his response to the returning officer’s notice on Maken’s objections, Gupta said he was appointed as a trustee of the NPS on March 30 last year but he resigned from the trust on December 29, way before the filing of his nomination. “It is submitted that the National Pension System is not an office. The said trust is not an office under the government and also is not an office of profit under the government. “In any event, as an abundant caution, the said trust is excluded in the Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959,” Gupta said. He also said in view of these facts and circumstances and the position of law as it exists, there exists no impediment or disqualification to the candidacy to file the nomination for being a member of Parliament under Article 102 of the Constitution.
Earlier in the day, Maken filed his objection to the nomination of Gupta for Rajya Sabha seat at the returning officer’s office. “N D Gupta’s nomination is liable to be rejected under Section 36 of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951 read with Article 102 of the Constitution,” Maken claimed. Meanwhile, the AAP claimed that Maken was trying to gain cheap publicity through frivolous objections as the law did not forbid trustees from contesting. “Section 3, clause (L) of Parliament (Prevention of Disqualification) Act, 1959, gives exemption to trustee from disqualification under office of profit,” AAP leader Raghav Chadha tweeted. “Also, RO (returning officer) is not competent authority to adjudicate on OoP, the EC is. (These are) frivolous objections to gain cheap publicity by the Congress,” he added.