Nearly 17% of the candidates contesting the Pune Municipal Corporation election and 12% in Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) have criminal cases, a survey by public advocacy groups has said.

The data also indicates that the NCP has fielded a maximum number of candidates with criminal cases in Pune, while in the PCMC, it is the BJP that has topped the list. Both parties have rejected the study.

According to the surveyors, they checked 767 affidavits of 1,090 for PMC and 541 for PCMC of the 774 filed. The activists of National Election Watch, Association for Democratic Reforms and National Society for Clean Cities (NSCC) carried out the study.

As many as 128 candidates in PMC have criminal cases of which 93 are of a serious nature, while in PCMC 63 aspirants have criminal cases. As many as 46 hopefuls have a history of serious crimes which include attempts to murder, chain snatching and others.

"We had set a deadline and were trying to get the details of all the candidates. But they were not available. We have taken as much as affidavits that were posted online. The survey represents a fair picture," Satish Khot, Pune Coordinator of Maharashtra Election Watch, said.

Aneeta Gokhale Benninger, president of NSCC, said the initiative is to create awareness among citizens about the candidates. "Voters should know who is their candidate. It will help them decided about the right one," she added.

The data is from the state machinery and has been given in the affidavits of the candidates, state coordinator of Maharashtra Election Watch said.

According to party workers, the criminal offences in the data does not give an appropriate picture about the candidates as some offences can be of a political nature.

"The survey report is wrong and we out reject it outright. The group should have taken the affidavits of all the candidates. It is not correct to come out with a conclusion with half the information. It gives us a chance to say that the survey has been done with a malafide intention. Most offences against our candidates are of the agitation against the Development Plan, inflation and civic issues," Vandana Chavan, city unit chief of NCP, said.

"Our party workers are involved in various agitations for public centric issues. Most cases are political. If any candidate has been facing a serious offence there are chances that they may be due to some personal issue," Vinayak Nimhan, city unit chief of Shiv Sena, said.

The group has also compiled data about candidates' wealth. As per the assessment of the group, on an average, the wealth of a candidate in Pune is Rs 3.61 crore as against Rs 2.87 crore in PCMC. There are six candidates who have no properties.

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