The Election Commission on Sunday reprimanded Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for allegedly making unverified allegations against Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, The Hindu reported.

During the upcoming Lok Sabha election, Tharoor will contest against Chandrasekhar in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram constituency on April 26.

The Bharatiya Janata Party complained against the Congress MP after he allegedly said in an interview with a media channel that Chandrasekhar offered money to voters and religious leaders in exchange for votes. Tharoor, however, denied the allegation and said that he did not name Chandrasekhar or the BJP in the interview, PTI reported.

However, Thiruvananthapuram Sub-Collector Aswathy Sreenivas, who is also the district’s nodal officer for the Model Code of Conduct, issued a “strict warning” to Tharoor and told him not to make unverified allegations in future. The official

The officer found the Congress leader’s argument unacceptable as “the imputations when read along with the context of the interview pointed at Rajeev Chandrasekhar”. The order also said that Tharoor did not provide any evidence for his “unwarranted” statements.

Commenting on the order, Chandrasekhar said that it was a fitting reply to the “smear campaign” by his rival. He alleged that both the Congress and Left Development Front were trying to divert attention from matters related to development and growth in Thiruvananthapuram.