More than half of Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav's ministerial colleagues have criminal records, says a pre-election survey by the Association for Democratic Reforms. The report, released on Tuesday, reveals that 28 out of 55 members of the Akhilesh ministry face criminal charges.

Of the 28 ministers who declared pending criminal cases in their 2012 election affidavits, 11 face serious charges including murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, and communal disharmony. While MoS for external aided projects and rural development, Ram Karan Arya, faces murder charges, MoS for maternal, child and family welfare Ravidas Mehrotra, an MLA from Lucknow Central, heads the tally with 17 cases against him.

While Akhilesh's cabinet has 56 ministers, the record of cabinet minister for jails, Balwant Singh Ramuwalia, has not been assessed because he did not contest the UP polls. According to ADR, the criteria for serious criminal cases include offences for which the maximum punishment is of five years or more, an offence that is non-bailable, and which is also an electoral offence (IPC 171E or bribery).
It also includes offences related to loss to exchequer, assault, murder, kidnapping and rape, mentioned in section 8 of the Representati on of People's Act.

The ADR data also throws up interesting facts about the cabinet ministers' incomes, assets and tax paying habits. Akhilesh has emerged as the minister with the highest income among his 55 ministerial colleagues. According to an assessment of Akhilesh's 2010-11 ITR filings, the CM declared an income of Rs 42.45 lakh.

Akhilesh is followed, in the high income ministers category, by Abhishek Mishra, minister for vocational education and skill development. Mishra's annual income declared during the financial year 2011-12 was Rs 26.38 lakh, while Mehboob Ali, minister for textile and sericulture industries, economics and statistics and minor irrigation declared Rs 25.69 lakh as his annual income in ITR.

Coordinator, UP Election Watch, Sanjay Singh, said, "We analysed ITR data of 2010-11 and 2011-12 depending upon the availability of the data. We did not have access to data after 2012."

The ADR report has also prepared a list of ministers with the highest assets. In this category, MoS (independent charge) for religious affairs, Vijay Mishra trumps Akhilesh with assets worth Rs 9.51 crore. Akhilesh, on the second spot, has declared total assets of Rs 8.84 crore and occupies the second spot.

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