Debating India

OFFICE OF PROFIT

Poll panel clears Jairam Ramesh

Thursday 28 December 2006, by VENKATESAN*J.

Of the charge that he was holding an office of profit

He was a member of the National Advisory Council ; Opinion has been sent to President Kalam

New Delhi: The Election Commission has cleared Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh in the petition alleging that he was holding an office of profit by being a member of the National Advisory Council (NAC).

Commission sources said, "an opinion that Mr. Ramesh does not hold an office of profit and that there is no disqualification as such, has been sent to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, who referred to the Commission the complaint sent by Ravindra Kumar, president of the Rashtriya Mukti Morcha."

Mr. Ramesh had only claimed reimbursement of expenses for attending NAC meetings and this would not come within the purview of remuneration. The opinion would be released after the President accepted it, the sources said.

Mr. Kumar alleged that Mr. Ramesh was holding an office of profit by being a member of the NAC, which was chaired by the UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who resigned from the NAC and her Lok Sabha seat on the same issue.

He contended that only the post of chairperson was exempted under the office of profit law enacted by Parliament and that an NAC member could not claim the benefit of the legislation.

In his reply, Mr. Ramesh told the Commission that he had not received any remuneration as NAC member.

See online : The Hindu

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