New Delhi

At a time when a majority of Indians are battling the pressure of inflation and food prices, data shows that nearly 77% of the ministers in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s cabinet are crorepatis.

New data analyzed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) pegs the average asset value of the Cabinet Ministers at Rs 10.3 crore, which is Rs 3 crore higher than their declaration two years ago.

The ADR report claims that Union Heavy Industry Minister Praful Patel is the richest in the council of ministers with assets worth Rs 122 crore, followed by MoS for I&B S Jagathrakshakan whose assets are worth Rs 70 crore and Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath (Rs 41 crore).

According to the ADR data, the fastest increase in assets was of DMK leader Jagathrakshakan, whose assets registered a rise of Rs 64.5 crore in only two years (from Rs 5.9 crore in 2009 to Rs 70 crore in 2011).

The DMK leader is closely followed by Patel, with an increase of Rs 42 crore (from Rs 79.8 crore in 2009 to Rs 122 crores in 2011). Patel is followed by Kamal Nath, whose assets rose by Rs 26 crore (from Rs 14 crore in 2009 to Rs 41 crore in 2011).

Jagathrakshakan also tops the rich ministers’ list in terms of highest asset increase in percents.

Jagathrakshakan assets have gone up by 1,092%. Congress's MoS (textiles) Panabaka Lakshmi is in second spot, with a growth of 828%, while, MoS (Road Transport and Highways) Tusharbhai Chaudhary has recorded a 705% growth in his assets.

While some Cabinet ministers have registered an unprecedented growth in their asset, as many as 15 have shown a decline in their wealth as compared to their declaration in 2009.

Among them are Agatha Sangma, Prateek P Patil, Virbhadra Singh, RPN Singh, D Napoleon, Vincent Pala, Jitin Prasada, M Veerappa Moily, P Chidambaram, S Jaipal Reddy, Farooq Abdullah, Preneet Kaur, Jairam Ramesh, SM Krishna and GK Vasan.

Meanwhile, ADR's Anil Bairwal further claims that vital information like I-T returns, present market value of assets are missing in most of the declarations.

"While it is laudable that the PMO is trying to set a meaningful precedence towards greater transparency, we recommend that declarations be made with all the details that are expected in the affidavits outlined by the Election Commission of India so that crucial information can be disclosed in public interest," he was quoted as saying.

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