The Election Commission of India (ECI) has stayed the launch of a book by S Vijayan on the Rafale fighter aircraft deal, The Hindu reported. According to India Today, election officials cited the model code of conduct (MCC) as the reason for this move. With the announcement of the 2019 general election schedule, the MCC came into effect.
However, Satyabrata Sahoo, the Chief Electoral Officer of Tamil Nadu, has said neither the Election Commission nor the CEO’s office had “issued any instructions in this regard”, the report added. “I have directed DEO (District Election Officer), Chennai, to look into this matter and give a report immediately,” Sahoo was quoted as saying.
The book was supposed to be released today by N Ram, Chairman of The Hindu Group, in Chennai today.
According to India Today, the publisher of the book, Rafale: The Scam That Rocked The Nation, had asked for permission to release the book at a school. But the school said no, citing the Election Commission’s objection.
The report stated: “When the publisher, Bharati Publication, decided to organise the event in its office, poll officials came and seized the books. A flying squad of election officers and the Teynampet police confiscated 142 copies.” It quoted N Ram as saying the staying was “anti-democratic and illegal, and that it amounted to curbing the freedom of speech and of the press”.
The publishing house will now consult lawyers and go to court, India Today reported.
Meanwhile, a film based on the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi titled “PM Narendra Modi” is scheduled to release on April 12. The film had come under the EC’s scanner following the Opposition’s demand to postpone the film’s release until the Lok Sabha elections are over.