The Times of India

An Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report on the criminal background of 2023 Assembly election candidates released on Friday reveals that education minister Madan Dilawar has the highest number of criminal cases against him at 14, followed by agriculture and rural development minister Kirori Lal Meena at 12 and Shyopat Ram of CPI-M at nine.

BJP's 61 candidates had criminal cases against them, while Congress's 47 candidates had criminal cases against them. BJP had 18 candidates without Format C7 (a format for political parties to make public the criminal antecedents of every candidate and explaining the reasons for selecting the persons) and Congress had three candidates without the same.

The report stated that Format C7 has been published for three candidates – Sanjay Biyani (AAP), Harish Choudhary (Congress) and Jagdish Chandra Jangid (Congress) even though no criminal cases have been reflected in the affidavit filed by them. “This demonstrates carelessness on the part of the political parties and insincerity in adhering to the directions of the Supreme Court,” the report said.

According to the report, the top 3 candidates with highest criminal cases whose reasons for selection have not been published are Vijay Singh Bainsla of BJP (eight cases), Gopichand Meena of BJP (five cases) and Subhkaran Choudhary of BJP (five cases).

Out of 688 contesting candidates analysed, 151 (22%) candidates belonging to all the political parties that contested the elections have declared criminal cases against themselves. Out of 688 contesting candidates analysed belonging to all the political parties, 111 (16%) have declared serious criminal cases against themselves, it said.

“Out of 151 candidates with criminal cases, reasons have been furnished for 129 (85%) candidates. Out of 111 candidates with serious criminal cases, reasons have been furnished for 97 (87%) candidates,” it further stated.

Parties cited reasons such as loyalty, unwavering commitment, commendable public life experience, and representation of all sections of Telangana society for selecting candidates with criminal cases. However, some parties did not provide reasons for a significant number of candidates with criminal background, including Congress and BJP.

Justice HP Sandesh of the Karnataka High Court has quashed a criminal case against financier S Sathish Kumar. The court deemed the case to be an abuse of the process of law.

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