Aditya Kaul
New Delhi

Sixteen Jharkhand legislators of the last assembly saw their assets shoot up by 224% (average) in the last five years and will be contesting again in the elections beginning this week, says the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), an NGOs working on electoral reforms. In Koda country this may not surprise, as also the fact that Koda’s wife Geeta, contesting from Singhbhum, is not on the list of crorepatis.

“The average increase in assets of MLAs is approximately Rs30.40 lakh or 224%,” says the ADR report. The MLA whose fortunes grew the most was the BJP’s Chandreshwar Prasad Singh, from Ranchi. Going by his affidavit, his assets grew by a staggering 441.93%. From Rs21.54 lakh in 2004, he is now worth Rs1.16 crore. He is closely trailed by JD(U)’s Jaleshwar Mahato, who made Rs81.81 lakh in the last five years. His assets, close to Rs35.14 lakh in 2004, registered a 232.82% increase to Rs1.16 crore in 2009.

Of the 302 candidates in the fray, 27 (or 8.94%) have declared assets of over a crore.
The richest candidate, Suresh Singh Jharia of the Congress, has declared wealth of over Rs9.42 crore. Congress’ Gopal SN Shahdeo Hatia follows with over Rs4.92 crore.
The Congress has the maximum percentage of crorepatis, 28%. Five of its 18 candidates are crorepatis. The JMM follows with six crorepatis among its 25 candidates (24%). The BJP has four crorepatis among its 22 candidates (18%).

ADR notes that 108 candidates (35.76%) have pending criminal cases against them. Forty-eight candidates (15.89%) face murder and attempt to murder charges. The JMM has the largest number of candidates facing serious crime charges like kidnapping, murder, attempt to murder and dacoity at 19. The Congress follows with 11, BJP 9, RJD 7 and AITC 9.

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