A mayor accused of "corrupt and illegal practices" at a special hearing in the High Court says there is "little if any" evidence of wrong-doing against him.

Four voters have accused Lutfur Rahman, Mayor of Tower Hamlets in east London, of "electoral fraud" at a hearing in an Election Court - which is part of the High Court - which began in London today.

But a lawyer representing Mr Rahman said allegations were a mixture of invention, exaggeration and falsehood.

The four voters - headed by Andy Erlam, who stood as a Tower Hamlets councillor on an anti-corruption ticket - have mounted a challenge under the provisions of the 1983 Representation Of The People Act.

They want the result of the May 2014 poll, which saw independent Mr Rahman elected for a second term, declared void and the election re-run.

Evidence is being outlined to Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey - a senior lawyer sitting as a judge - at a hearing expected to last several weeks.

Francis Hoar, for the group of four, told Mr Mawrey that his clients were challenging the election of Mr Rahman as mayor of Tower Hamlets on May 22 2014.

He added: "The allegations against Lutfur Rahman are that he was guilty of corrupt and illegal practices, directly or through his agents."

Mr Hoar said his clients were accusing Mr Rahman of "election fraud".

But Duncan Penny QC, for Mr Rahman told the court: "There is little if any evidence of personal wrongdoing by Lutfur Rahman."

Mr Penny described the group of four's claims as "invention", "exaggeration" and "in some cases downright deliberately false allegations".

He said the "one aim" was to unseat a "directly elected mayor".

Mr Mawrey said if allegations were found to have been proved he could declare the election void and conclude that Mr Rahman had not been elected mayor.

The court was also told that Mr Rahman could be barred from public office for a period of years.

In April 2014, police in London halted an investigation into allegations of fraud and financial mismanagement against Mr Rahman, who was born in Bangladesh, after finding no evidence of criminality.

Metropolitan Police officers had investigated claims that he doubled recommended funding for Bengali-run charities in an attempt to buy influence.

Mr Rahman had denied the accusations, which were originally made in a BBC Panorama documentary.

Mr Hoar today outlined a series of allegations to the Election Court.

He said there had been "personation" in postal voting and at polling stations - and people had registered themselves or others to vote at addresses at which they did not live.

He said there had been ballot paper tampering.

He said Mr Rahman had "made false statements" about the "personal character" of his main rival - Labour candidate John Biggs.

He alleged "undue influence" by "means of spiritual influence" during the election campaign and on polling day.

He complained that canvassers had been paid.

He alleged "undue influence through intimidation at polling stations" and "interference with voters" - including in polling booths.

He alleged "bribery" through "unlawfully diverting public funds to organisations in order corruptly to procure their political support".

He said those organisations included "religious organisations" and "media organisations".