Business Standard
Akshat Kaushal
New Delhi

PM down, their updated list of publicly declared assets assumes property values remained static

The declaration of assets by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee assumes land prices in the country have remained stagnant for two years.

In the declaration of his assets as on March 31, 2011, the PM has listed two immovable properties -- a house in sector 11-B in Chandigarh and a residential apartment in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj. The 'current market value' of these have been valued at Rs 90 lakh and Rs 88.67 lakh, respectively.

It is also the same valuation in his declaration to the Election Commission of India in 2009 (made available on the website of the non-government Association for Democratic Reforms). Thus, the value of his immovable assets has remained the same during the two-year period, while that of his movable assets has increased by 37.5 per cent.

The case of Mukherjee is similar. A comparison of his latest declaration with the one in 2009 reveals the prices of his two houses have been assumed to remain the same. Mukherjee owns a residential flat in Delhi’s Munirka area, whose value he has declared as Rs 39.20 lakh and a house in Delhi’s Greater Kailash-II at Rs 75.86 lakh. In the past two years, the immovable assets of the finance minister have increased by just two per cent.

According to a property broker, who wants to remain anonymous, the price of Mukherjee’s Munirka flat is far greater that what has been stated in his asset declaration. The value of Mukherjee’s wife’s flat in GK-II could not be verified, as the asset declaration statement doesn’t state the size of the house. According to , a flat similar to Singh’s in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj should cost around Rs 1.5 crore.

Though Kapil Sibal, Union minister for human resource development, and communication and information technology, has adjusted an increase in properties owned by him, there has been no change in the value of the property that his wife owns. Sibal declared in 2009 that the price of his wife’s house in Delhi’s Friends Colony was Rs 7.5 crore, two years later the price is shown as unchanged.

In the past two years, the value of immovable assets of the government’s richest minister, Praful Patel, has increased by about 30 per cent. Patel, who bought five properties worth Rs 88 crore in Mumbai and Anand, Gujarat, between 2004 and 2008, has not bought any since then, according to his asset statement.

The highest increase in the worth of immovable properties has been in the case of defence minister A K Antony, who also has the lowest total assets in the overall cabinet.

Home minister P Chidambaram’s overall immovable assets have been listed now at a 58 per cent fall, presumably because a few of these properties no longer belong to him. The overall assets of Chidambaram have also fallen by 14 per cent. However, as a new entry, a sum of Rs 9.49 crore has been shown as a loan to family members by Chidambaram in his asset statement

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