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EC asks Alagiri to reimburse expenses on TN visit

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday directed Union Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister M K Alagiri to reimburse the expenditure incurred on his recent visit to poll-bound Tamil Nadu in violation of the Model Code of Conduct.

Cautioning the senior DMK leader to be "more careful" in future, the EC said in its order that the expenditure on airfare from Delhi to Chennai and back, road transport, board and lodging availed by him during his visits to Chennai and Madurai be reimbursed to the government.

The EC said the minister himself admitted that he combined his official visit to Chennai with a personal visit to Madurai for political activities, which amounted to violation of Model Code.

"The Commission has nevertheless taken into consideration the submission made by him that as a first time MP, he was not aware of all the nitty-gritty of the procedure and that such lapses would not happen in future," it said and added that the Commission decided to take a "lenient view" in the matter.

The Commission said it was not satisfied with his reply that his visit to Madurai was due to "unexpected personal political exigencies" and was not pre-scheduled one, and also that his office did not bring to his notice that the Model Code had come into immediate effect.

The EC had issued a show cause notice to Alagiri for violating the Model Code by clubbing his official visit to Chennai but indulged in political activities in his home district Madurai.

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