The Indian Express
New Delhi

Among the 21 new faces inducted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi into his team on Sunday is two-time MP Ram Shankar Katheria. A professor by profession, the Agra MP has 23 criminal cases registered against him, including one in which he has been accused of attempt to murder and in another cheating.

While his election affidavit shows 23 cases, the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) lists out 21. Charges have not been framed by the court in any of the 23 cases which he has declared in his election affidavit. Among the cases, many are related to obstructing public servants, rioting and unlawful assembly which politicians face for leading street protests.

But Katheria also faces cases of serious nature, in which he is accused of cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property, forgery, forgery for purpose of cheating, attempt to murder and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds including religion.

The opposition Congress was quick to attack the Prime Minister, reminding him about the Supreme Court’s recent observation on tainted ministers. The court had in August advised the Prime Minister and Chief Ministers not to induct people against whom charges have been framed in criminal or corruption cases.

The Congress had in the past claimed that the Modi ministry has 13 ministers facing criminal charges. Referring to Katheria, AICC communication department head Ajay Maken said that while it was expected that Prime Minister Modi would remove the “13 tainted ministers”, he added one more.

“Modi talks about Swachh Bharat. What about swachh politics?” he asked.

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