Fresh charges of Sangma camp against Pranab

New Delhi/Kolkata: In more acrimony ahead of Presidential poll, opposition nominee P A Sangma today levelled new allegations that Pranab Mukherjee was still holding two more offices of profit, drawing protest from the UPA candidate`s camp which termed the charges as "incorrect".

A 3-member delegation on behalf of Sangma today met Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath claiming Mukherjee continued to hold two more offices of profit–as Vice President of Birbhum Institute of Engineering and Technology and Chairman of Rabindra Bharti Society which forms part of the Rabindra Bharati University in Kolkata.

The delegation sought EC`s intervention for a fresh probe into his objections against the candidature of Mukherjee. The Election Commission gave the delegation time to present their written submission on their demand by Monday evening. The delegation expressed dissatisfaction over the Returning Officer`s dismissal of their complaint against Mukherjee on the issue of his being the Chairman of Indian Statistical Institute near Kolkata.

After the meeting with the CEC, Janata Party President Subramanian Swamy claimed Mukherjee continued to hold two more offices of profit – as Vice President of Birbhum Institute of Engineering and Technology and Chairman of Rabindra Bharti Society, which forms the Rabindra Bharti University.

However, officials of the Rabindra Bharati Society and the Engineering Society said Mukherjee had resigned much before filing his nominations for Presidential poll. Rabindra Bharati Society`s secretary Nabakumar Sil told PTI in Kolkata that Mukherjee had resigned as the Society`s Chairman on June 20, much before filing his nomination for Presidential elections.

"Pranab Mukherjee resigned on June 20 and we had accepted it immediately," he said adding the post of Chairman was an honorary one. He also said the former Union Finance Minister was not paid any honorarium. Ramchandra Dome, Secretary of the Birbhum Engineering Institute, said Mukherjee had resigned from the post in 2004. Swamy said the delegation met V S Sampath and flagged their concerns as the Constitution allows the EC to intervene in the conduct of elections.

"Here the issue is of fraud. Let the EC decide on whether there is a fraud in the nomination process. Let the EC take the final decision," Swamy said. The delegation, which also included BJP leader and Sangma`s counsel Satya Pal Jain and his election agent Bhartruhari Mahtab, raked up the issue of Mukherjee`s signature on his letter of resignation from the Indian Statistical Institute and its acceptance.

Mukherjee`s camp responded to Sangma camp`s raking up fresh allegations saying the campaign was being "vitiated". "This only proves that the campaign for the highest office in the country is being vitiated," said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal who is the authorised representative of Mukherjee.

Bansal said once the election process begins, no one intervenes in the process and the poll continues. He said Mukherjee is determined to maintain full dignity of his campaign. "We are sure they are trying to mislead the public. These actions are incorrect and legally ill-conceived and untenable", he added.