The Times of India
New Delhi

NEW DELHI: Assets of ministers of Karnataka's BJP government, which has been battling corruption charges against several leaders, skyrocketed on an average by 665% between 2004 and 2008. About 75% of cabinet ministers are crorepatis, found Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW).

The NGOs analyzed affidavits of 24 out of 27 cabinet ministers, including CM Jagadish Shettar, submitted to the Election Commission. They found 18 out of 24, that is 75% of Karnataka cabinet ministers, are crorepatis. Average asset of a Karnataka minister is Rs 6.96 crore.

Fourteen of the 24 ministers analyzed were also ministers in Karnataka 2004 assembly. Average asset of these ministers then was Rs 91 lakh.

Tourism minister Anand Singh elected from Vijayanagara topped the current list with asset worth Rs 88.66 crore. Housing minister V Somanna came second in the rich list with asset worth Rs10.99 crore, followed by science & technology minister Asnotikar Anand Vasant (Rs 10.39 crore).

Among the ministers, textile minister R Varthur Prakash has the lowest asset at Rs 2 lakh.

Of the 24 ministers, Somanna was elected as MLC in 2010, while the rest are MLAs in the Karnataka assembly.

Of the 215 MLAs of the 2008 Karnataka assembly analyzed, 131 or 61% MLAs, are crorepatis. ADR and NEW analyzed data of 214 of 224 MLAs of the current Karnataka assembly to find average asset per MLA at Rs 5.98 crore.

The richest MLA is Priya Krishna of the Congress from Govindraj Nagar with asset worth Rs 767.61 crore.

In 2004 Karnataka assembly, the average asset of 186 out of 224 MLAs analyzed was Rs 1.29 crore recording a 364% rise between 2004 and 2008.

Besides, 42% Karnataka ministers — 10 out of 24 analyzed — have criminal cases as declared in their affidavits filed during the 2008 Assembly polls. Two ministers Balachandra Laxmanrao Jarkhiholi had one case and C T Ravi had five criminal cases against them.

Among the four southern states, Karnataka tops with the highest average asset per MLA. Average asset per MLA in the 2008 Karnataka Assembly is Rs 5.98 crore followed by MLAs of 2011 Tamil Nadu Assembly with an average of Rs 3.98 crore, 2009 Andhra Pradesh Assembly with Rs 3.78 crore and 2011 Kerala Assembly with Rs 1.43 crore.

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