HC judge excuses himself from hearing CM’s poll expenditure case

Cuttack: A judge of the Orissa High Court excused himself from hearing the case pertaining to alleged discrepancies in poll expenses of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, following which the scheduled trial could not be held on Wednesday.

Justice Sanjay Kumar Mishra wrote to Chief Justice Vineet Saran to recuse him from trying the case while requesting the latter to constitute a separate bench for its trial.

Two cases have been registered against the Chief Minister citing alleged mismatch in his poll expenses affidavit with that of the expenditure statement of the BJD. The petitioners had sought cancellation of his candidature for filing false affidavit on 2014 poll expenditure.

The High Court had earlier issued a notice to the Election Commission of India to submit a reply after a preliminary hearing of the case filed by the rights activist.

According to sources, a fresh petition submitted by root petitioner Subash Mohapatra in Supreme Court could have prompted Mishra’s decision as it questioned his integrity. Apprehending biased trial, Mohapatra recently moved the apex court praying it to shift the hearing to Delhi High Court.

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