The Tribune
Tribune News Service
New Delhi

Union Ministers are not just rich but getting richer, reveals an analysis of the returns submitted by them, first to the Election Commission or the Rajya Sabha Secretariat in 2009 and then to the PMO last month.

The analysis conducted by the Association for Democratic Rights (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) not only shows that 59 of the 77 ministers have assets valued in crores but also claims that each Union minister, on an average, is richer by Rs 3.3 crore more than in 2009. Indeed, the average asset value of a minister in the current ministry is Rs 10.6 crore, claims the ADR.

The analysis was carried out on the basis of affidavits filed by them while contesting the Lok Sabha election in 2009, assets declared to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat and the assets disclosed online by the PMO.

The statement singles out 19 ministers, including Dr Farooq Abdullah and Ghulam Nabi Azad, and accuses them of not declaring to the PMO the value of several of their movable and immovable assets that they had owned up earlier in their affidavits. As many as 15 ministers have shown a decrease in their assets compared to the value they had declared in 2009. Among them are Virbhadra Singh, Preneet Kaur, Farooq Abdullah, P. Chidambaram and Veerappa Moily.

Preneet Kaur had declared movable assets worth Rs 3 crores and immovable assets of Rs 39 crores in 2009, but in her declaration to the PMO last month, she disclosed assets worth under Rs 2 crore. Farooq Abdullah’s assets have similarly come down from Rs 9 crore to Rs 63 lakhs. Veerappa Moily had assets worth Rs 2.93 crore in 2009 but two years later these are down to Rs 13 lakhs.

There have also been dramatic increases in the assets of some. Rajeev Shukla, a newly inducted minister, had declared assets worth Rs 7 crore to the Rajya Sabha Secretariat but has disclosed assets worth over Rs 30 crores to the PMO. Ashwani Kumar, also from the Rajya Sabha, had declared assets worth Rs 8 crore to the Parliament but disclosed assets worth Rs 25 crores to the PMO. Yet another Member of the Rajya Sabha and Union Minister, Anand Sharma’s assets too have increased from Rs 1 crore to Rs 4 crore.

The highest asset increase, however, has been for Dr S. Jagathrakshakan (DMK), whose assets show an increase of Rs 64.5 crores in two years, followed by Praful Patel and Kamal Nath . The net worth of Kamal Nath was calculated earlier at Rs 256 crores but the figure included the assets of the companies in which he has business interests.

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