Hindustan Times
New Delhi

Former Jharkhand chief minister and MP Madhu Koda, who is under investigation on corruption and other charges, has been exempted by Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar from declaring his assets, which is mandatory under the House rules. 

The exemption was given on a request by Koda to the Speaker but the grounds of request have not been made public.

The information, made public under the Right to Information Act, also revealed that besides Koda, Congress MP from Maharajganj Uttar Pradesh Harsh Vardhan and Independent MP Putul Kumari from Banka Bihar have also not disclosed details of their assets and liabilities to Lok Sabha.

 "The rules make the Register of Assets and Liabilities of elected members as confidential. As on April 1, 2013, three members of Lok Sabha (Harsh Vardhan, Madhu Koda and Putul Kumari) have not disclosed details of their assets and liabilities to Lok Sabha.

"Madhu Koda, MP has been exempted from disclosing his assets and liabilities by Speaker on a request made by him in this regard," said an RTI response from Lok Sabha Secretariat.

Koda is under investigation of the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax department for cases of alleged corruption, owning disproportionate assets and money laundering while he was chief minister of Jharkhand from September 2006 to August 2008.

A similar response from the Rajya Sabha said that five of its members including Ajay Sancheti of BJP, Darshan Singh Yadav of Samajwadi Party, Munquad Ali of BSP, Narendra Budania and Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu of Congress have also not furnished their assets and liabilities details even after the mandatory deadline passed last year.

Both the Houses have not initiated any action against the MPs who have not disclosed their assets and liabilities within the deadline mandated under the rules.

According to the Members of Lok Sabha Declaration of Assets and Liabilities Rules 2004, every MP shall have to furnish to the Speaker the details of movable and immovable properties owned by him, spouse and dependant children besides liabilities towards financial institutions and government, within 90 days from the date on which he makes and subscribes an oath or affirmation for taking his seat, the reply said.

It said rules provide for taking action against the MPs who fail to make such a declaration but so far no action has been initiated against these three "defaulting" MPs and only reminders have been issued.

The Upper House said requisite declarations of assets and liabilities has been not received from its five members.

"In this connection it is informed that aforesaid members were informed about the obligation of filing the declaration of assets and liabilities, in Form-I. Besides members are being regularly reminded before every Parliamentary Session through Parliamentary Bulletin and also through reminder letters as well," it said in reply to applicant S C Agrawal.

In a separate development, 28 members of various Houses including Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state assemblies have voluntarily declared their Income Tax in response to RTI queries filed by Election Reforms advocacy group Association for Democratic Reforms.

MPs Ajay Maken, Ambika Soni, Subodh Kant Sahay, Abhijeet Mukherjee and Samajwadi Party MP Neeraj Shekhar, former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi were among the leaders who voluntarily disclosed their I-T returns Congress MLA from Kahalgaon, Bihar Sadanand Singh, JDU MLA from Sultanganj, Bihar Subodh Roy, BJP MLA from Motihari Pramond Kumar, Congress MLAs from Rajasthan Rajendra Pareek and Murari Lal Meena are among MLAs who have made their Income Tax returns public on their web sites.

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