New Delhi: Just over 40% of ministers in the Union Cabinet have declared criminal cases against themselves, while 90% of them are crorepatis, analysis by the independent watchdog group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has found.
The Union Cabinet was recently reshuffled and expanded, with several new ministers sworn in. Of the 78 ministers in the cabinet, 33 (42%) have declared criminal cases against them in their election affidavits, ADR said. Additionally, 24 ministers (31%) have declared serious cases against them, including those related to murder, attempt to murder and robbery.
The proportion of Union ministers who have declared criminal cases against them has risen by 3 percentage points after the expansion. Analysis by ADR in 2019, when the first cabinet was sworn in, showed that 39% of the 56 ministers then had declared criminal cases against themselves. In that cabinet too, an overwhelming majority (91%) were crorepatis.
About 24 or 31% of the ministers have declared serious criminal cases, including those related to murder, attempt to murder, robbery etc.
Nisith Pramanik from Cooch Behar constituency, who has been appointed as the minister of state for home affairs, has declared a case related to murder (IPC Section-302) against himself. At 35, he is also the youngest minister in the cabinet.
Four ministers have declared cases related to attempt to murder (IPC Section-307). They are John Barla, Pramanik, Pankaj Choudhary and V. Muraleedharan.
Out of the ministers analysed, 70 (90%) are crorepatis and the average assets per minister is Rs 16.24 crore, ADR said. Four ministers have declared more than Rs 50 crore worth of assets. They are Jyotiraditya Scindia (Rs 395 crore), Piyush Goyal (Rs 95 crore), Narayan Tatu Rane (Rs 87 crore) cand Rajeev Chandrasekhar (Rs 64 crore).
At the other end of the spectrum, Pratima Bhoumik has declared assets worth Rs 6 lakh. She is among eight cabinet ministers who have assets worth less than Rs 1 crore. The others are John Barla, Kailash Choudhary, Bishweshwar Tudu, V. Muraleedharan, Rameswar Teli, Shantanu Thakur and Nitish Pramanik.
The report also analysed the educational qualifications of the new cabinet, finding that a majority of them (21) are post-graduates. Nine ministers have a doctorate, while 17 each are graduates and professional graduates. Two ministers passed their Class VIII exams, three passed their Class X exam and seven others have passed their Class XII exam.
ADR also said that 56 of the 78 ministers are older than 51 years, while 18 are between the ages of 41-50. Just four Union ministers are younger than 40 years, according to the report.