Source: 
New Indian Express
Date: 
05.04.2013
City: 
BANGALORE

Being people’s representatives appears to be a highly rewarding profession in terms of monetary gains.

For, the average asset value of MLAs in the 12th Assembly (2004-2008) increased by a whopping 364 per cent and that of ministers by 665 per cent in a span of just four years, according to a report released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) here on Thursday.

The ADR has prepared this report on the basis of the affidavits filed by the legislators about their assets and liabilities during the 2004 and 2008 Assembly elections before the Election Commission.

As per the report, Karnataka MLAs are the richest in South India with an average asset value of Rs 5.98 crore, followed by the legislators in Tamil Nadu (Rs 3.98 crore), Andhra Pradesh (Rs 3.78 crore) and Kerala (Rs 1.43 crore).

Interestingly, the assets of ministers grew faster than the MLAs, perhaps an indication of what drives every MLA to aspire for a ministerial berth.

While the average asset value of ministers went up to Rs 6.96 crore in 2008 from Rs 91 lakh in 2004, the average asset value of MLAs went up to Rs 5.98 crore from Rs 1.29 crore.

Tourism Minister Anand Singh, a first-time MLA and a mining baron, topped the list of the richest ministers with `88.66 crore, followed by Housing Minister V Somanna (`10.99 crore) and Minister for Fisheries and Ports Anand Asnotikar (Rs 10.39 crore). Minister Varthur Prakash’s declared assets were worth just Rs 2 lakh. Among the legislators, the Congress had the highest number of rich MLAs. The average assets of Congress MLAs in 2008 stood at Rs 9.55 crore, more than double the asset value of those from JD(S) (Rs 4.43 crore) and BJP (Rs 4.35 crore) MLAs. 

In fact, of the five richest MLAs, four - Vijayanagar MLA M Krishnappa, Shanthinagar MLA N A Harris, Kanakapur MLA D K Shivkumar and Santosh Lad - are from the Congress.

They together declared assets totalling Rs 350.98 crore.

As many as 10 ministers in the BJP government admitted they faced criminal cases. Of them, Minister Balachandra Jarakiholi said he was facing charges related to murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and theft.

Another minister, C T Ravi, said he faced five criminal cases, including charges of promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, residence and language. Professor Trilochana Shastry of ADR said the report was aimed at informing the voters about their representatives. He also called upon political parties not to give tickets to those facing criminal charges.

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