The Times Of India

The number of MLAs with serious criminal cases against them more than doubled since 2007, shows a study by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR). In the 10-year period between 2007 and 2017, more than one-fourth of the elected legislators had a criminal background.

Data released by the ADR shows that 11 of the 40 MLAs elected in 2017 have criminal cases registered against them. Of these, nine have serious cases registered against them, including crimes against women.

In 2007, nine MLAs had police cases registered against them, but none of the cases were “serious” charges.

Serious criminal cases are non-bailable offences such as abduction, rape, sexual assault, attempt to murder, with over five years of imprisonment.

In 2012, 12 MLAs had criminal cases against them with two MLAs having serious charges registered against them. That number climbed to 11 in 2017 and all of them are in the fray for the February 14 elections, seeking yet another chance to become lawmakers in Goa.

“From three doctors, four advocates, five freedom fighters out of 28 Goan MLAs in 1963-64, if we have 11 criminals out of 40 in 2022, then certainly there is something wrong with the society at large,” said Goa state coordinator for ADR, Bhasker Assoldekar.

Of the nine MLAs with serious criminal charges, five of them are from BJP while the two are from Congress party. The remaining two allegedly involved in serious crimes are from NCP and GFP.

The Election Commission has said it is mandatory for political parties to upload details of candidates with criminal cases on their websites. Parties will also have to cite reasons for nominating candidates with criminal antecendents in the upcoming assembly elections.

“What is happening in Goa, unfortunately, is that the number of criminals entering the assembly is increasing and this should be a matter of concern for right-thinking Goans,” Assoldekar said.

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