The Statesman

BANGALORE, 4 APRIL: The average assets of a minister in Karnataka increased by 665 per cent at Rs 6.96 crore between 2004 and 2008.

This has been revealed by the Association of Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch bodies comprising over 1,200 non government organisations and other citizen-led organisations. The findings follow analysis of 24 ministers’ assets from a batch of 27.

The results are based on the affidavits filed by them during the 2004 and 2008 elections. The progress between 2008 and 2013 would be known after they file their papers before contesting the 5 May Assembly polls.

According to Mr Tirlochan Shastri, member ADR, the exercise is part of an effort to educate the voters on bringing about  better governance and  cleaner elections This is being done under the Karnataka Election Watch, a non-political body which is plumbing for making the elections fair and transparent.

He told newsmen here that ADR’s analysis also revealed that 18 out of the 24 ministers whose assets were studied were crorepatis. This is not all. About 61 per cent or 131 out of 215 legislators whose details were examined turned out to be crorepatis in 2008.

In fact, BJP legislator from Vijaynagara constituency in Bellary–Hospet belt, Mr Anand Singh, topped the list with his wealth pegged at Rs 88 crore  followed by Mr V Somanna who accounted for Rs 11 crore and Mr A Asnotikar  a close third at Rs 10.4 crore. All of them were ministers in the BJP government.

Responding to queries, the ADR members explained that the average asset per MLA in Karnataka Assembly in 2008 was Rs 5.98 crore, at least  in the case of 214 out of the 224 legislators. Against this ,in 2004,   the average possession of  about 186  legislators  stood at Rs 1.29 crore.

Interestingly, the Karnataka MLA's average assets, at Rs 5.98 crore, were  the highest in comparison to his counterparts from the southern region. The Tamil Nadu legislator’s average assets, for example, in 2011 stood at Rs 3.98 crore and that of the Andhra Pradesh MLA’s at Rs 3.98 crore. The Kerala legislator, in turn, proved to be a poor cousin in that his average possession  in 2011 did not exceed Rs 1.43 crore.

Personal wealth and possessions apart,  the NEW found that  42 per cent ,or ten of the 24 ministers who were investigated, had “self-declared" criminal cases against them.

This information was based on the affidavits that they had submitted to the Election Commission before the 2008 elections. Further, two others had declared that there were serious charges of murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping and theft against them.

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