The Times of India

RAIPUR: Over 12% of the 58 candidates contesting the first two phases of elections in Chhattisgarh have criminal cases registered against them and 24% are crorepatis including their total assets.

According to data released by Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), while seven of the 58 candidates in fray for the first two phases in Chhattisgarh have declared that criminal cases are registered against them, at least four of them face charges for serious offences. In the first phase at Bastar, both BJP and AAP candidates Dinesh Kashyap and Soni Sori have criminal cases pending against them.

While charges against Sori, who was booked for acting as a conduit between Naxalites and a business house, range from rioting and causing mischief by fire and explosives, Kashyap was charged under section 188 of IPC (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant).

In the second phase of polling in Mahasamund, Rajnandgaon and Kanker there are 50 candidates in the fray, including Abhishek Singh, son of chief minister Raman Singh, and former CM Ajit Jogi from Congress.

Of these, 10% - which is five candidates have criminal cases registered against them and Congress leads the tally with two such candidates in fray. Incidentally in the second phase, none of the BJP candidates face criminal charges. As far as crorepatis in the second phase are concerned, both BJP and Congress each have three candidates. Both Abhishek, with a networth of over Rs 4 crore, Ajit Jogi with assets worth Rs 6 crore, fall in this bracket.

Abhishek is the candidate with the highest income of Rs 26 lakh. Jogi is next in the list with an annual income of over Rs 10 lakh and his BJP opponent in Mahasamund constituency, Chandu Lal Sahu, trails him, in terms of assets and earnings with a net worth of Rs 2 crore and income of Rs 8.54 lakh respectively.

Incidentally, three namesakes of BJP's Mahasamund candidate Chandu Lal Sahu, who are contesting polls as independents are the poorest candidates in the second phase.

According to ADR report, a total of 14 candidates of the 50 contesting candidates analyzed in the second phase have declared liabilities above Rs 2 lakh. Bhaskar Dwivedi of AAP from Rajnandgaon constituency leads the list with a declared liability of Rs 48.14 lakh and Chandu lal Sahu of BJP and Ajit Jogi, both from Mahasamund, have respective liabilities of Rs 27 lakh and Rs 15 lakh. The report also reveals that 46% of the candidates (23) have not declared their PAN details.

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