Source: 
The Times of India
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Abhishek-Manu-Singhvi-Vijay-Mallya-are-top-earners-in-Rajya-Sabha/articleshow/10773614.cms
Author: 
Himanshi Dhawan
Date: 
18.11.2011
City: 
New Delhi

NEW DELHI: With 58% of their tribe in the crorepati club, Rajya Sabha MPs have several "interests" that include remunerative directorship, paid consultancy and company shares. Significantly, of the 232 MPs who have declared their business and financial interests, 140 of them, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, have said that they do not have any pecuniary interests.

The MPs who have declared the highest remuneration-cumulative of directorship, regular remunerated activity and professional engagement-include Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who tops the chart at Rs 50 crore per annum, followed by Vijay Mallya (Rs 41.4 crore), Arun Jaitley (Rs 10 crore), Ram Jethmalani (Rs 8.41 crore) and Naresh Gujral (Rs 4.79) crore.

"In their declaration forms given to Election Commission, some of these 140 MPs have declared assets worth crores. According to Election Commission data, about 58% of RS members are 'crorepati'. It is interesting to see that they have assets yet no regular pecuniary interests," said Anil Bairwal, national coordinator, National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

According to RS rules, all members are expected to submit their financial interests and professional consultancies within 90 days of taking oath. All except 10 MPs, who have recently been nominated and have not completed 90 days in office, must declare their interests under five heads-remunerative directorship, shareholding of controlling nature, regular remunerated activity, paid consultancy and professional engagement.

The top three MPs, who said they do not have any pecuniary interests yet have high assets, are T Subbarami Reddy (Congress), Karan Singh (Congress) and Rajkumar Dhoot (Shiv Sena). Reddy, Singh and Dhoot have total declared assets worth Rs 259.25 crore, Rs 57.89 crore and Rs 29.53 crore, respectively.

Others in the list include PM Singh with assets worth Rs 4.30 crore, Congress's Avinash Pandey (Rs 29.05 crore), Ambika Soni (Rs 17.59 crore), Satish Sharma (Rs 14.05 crore), G Sanjeeva Reddy (Rs 6.68 crore) Vilasrao Deshmukh (Rs 5.92 crore) and M S Gill (Rs 4.53 crore).

The list also includes names of former BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu (Rs 7.72 crore), DMK's K P Ramalingam (4.48 crore) and Shiromani Akali Dal's Sukhdev Singh (Rs 4.04 crore).

According to the analysis by ADR, an NGO striving for electoral reforms, 92 MPs have declared their interests. Among the 28 MPs who have declared that they have remunerative directorship, Mallya tops the list. He holds 19 directorships of various firms, amounting to Rs 39.45 crore. The Karnataka MP is followed by NCP's Y P Trivedi with 11 directorships and Naresh Gujral from Shiromani Akali Dal with four. The highest amount received is also by Mallya, followed by Gujral and Congress's Vijay Darda.

The NGO, which struggled for two years to make the information public through an RTI, also found that 33 MPs had declared shareholdings of controlling nature. The highest number of such shareholding was declared by Congress's Anil Lad (27 companies), followed by Darda (21 companies) and Mallya (12 companies).

"According to the Rajya Sabha rules, MPs with interests have to declare it before speaking on the floor of the House but it will be interesting to know if the practice is followed," said Trilochan Shastry, founder member of ADR and a professor at IIM Bangalore.

Other information that the NGO received was that 28 MPs have declared that they get regular remuneration, seven have financial interests in the form of paid consultancy and 43 have professional engagements.

ADR's Jagdeep Chhoker demanded scrutiny of the declarations. "The MPs are not following their own code of ethics by taking so long to make this information public," he said.

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