Opposition nominee P A Sangma on Monday tried to put a spanner in UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee's Presidential bid by seeking cancellation of his nomination under the Office of Profit rules but his office and the government rejected it.
Sangma wrote to Rajya Sabha Secretary General V K Agnihotri, who is the returning officer for the Persidential election, claiming that Mukherjee was the Chairman of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) and therefore his nomination papers should be rejected.
The government as well as Mukherjee's office rejected the claim, saying he had resigned from the post days before filing nomination papers for the July 19 Presidential poll.
"He (Mukherjee) had resigned as Chairman, ISI, on June 20, a week before he filed his nominations," Parliamentary Affairs Minister P K Bansal said.
A close aide of Mukherjee also said the same.
Bansal, the authorised representative of Mukherjee, said he and Home Minister P Chidambaram met Mukherjee after Sangma's claim and they were told by him of his resignation well in advance of filing the nomination.
He said Sangma's claim was factually incorrect, legally ill-conceived and untenable.
"Pranab Mukherjee would be filing a written reply to the Returning Officer by 3 PM tomorrow," Bansal said.
Earlier, Sangma's lawyer Satpal Jain demanded that Mukherjee's papers be cancelled at the scrutiny stage as he holds an office of profit.
Jain said that Mukherjee is chairperson of ISI and, hence, cannot contest the Presidential poll under the Office of Profit rules.
Today is the last day for scrutiny of forms for the Presidential election. The last date of withdrawal of candidature is July 4.