Tamil Nadu tops tainted legislators' list

An analytical study by the Delhi-based “National Election Watch (NEW)” and “Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR)” said that  out of the data on 808 MLAs from these five states, nearly 25 per cent (203 MLAs) of sitting legislators have criminal cases pending against them.

Anil Bairwal, National Coordinator of both NEW and ADR, who released the findings in Chennai on Thursday along with two other coordinators of these NGOs, Kris Dev and Sudarsan Padmanabhan, said among the states, Tamil Nadu has the maximum of 76 MLAs (in a House of 234 members) with criminal cases pending against them.

The corresponding figures for the other states are: Kerala  69, West Bengal 45, Assam 7 and Puducherry 6 MLAs.

Stating that these figures by and large reflected the all-India average of 30 per cent of legislators with criminal background, Anil said they were pointers to the extent of ‘criminalisation of politics’.

Of the MLAs with criminal cases, 25 from Tamil Nadu faced very serious criminal charges, including murder and kidnap, Kris pointed out. The corresponding figures for other states are Kerala 18 serious criminal cases, and West Bengal 30. Assam and Puducherry have five cases each.

Interestingly, an analysis of the assets of the sitting MLAs show DMK patriarch and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi is the richest with total declared assets worth Rs 26.50 crores, followed by AIADMK leader, J Jayalalitha (about Rs 24 crores). D Selvaraj, Congress MLA comes third in the wealth profile list with total assets of Rs 15 crores. Both Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa have a few pending cases.  

All these details are as per their individual affidavits filed along with their nomination papers in the 2006 Assembly elections and things could have slightly changed either way since then, the NGOs’ office-bearers were cautious to add while releasing their findings.
Analysing the Income Tax  returns of the various political parties on the basis of data obtained through RTI applications by ADR, they said for the financial year 2008-09 (incidentally also the year of the 2G spectrum scam), the ruling DMK in Tamil Nadu has reported just Rs 1.65 crores as “total contributions/donations” in its I-T returns. “How much is the DMK’s total income for the year is a figure we could not get,” Anil said.

On the contrary, the AIADMK has been far more transparent and “we got more information” on Jayalalitha’s party from the I-T returns, Anil pointed out. The total income declared by AIADMK for the financial year 2008-09 is Rs 12.50 crore. The total assets shown by it as on March 31, 2009, are worth Rs 36.98 crore, he added.

At the All-India level for the two consecutive financial years 2007-09, the Congress has declared the “maximum aggregate income” of Rs 718 crore, followed by the BJP (Rs 344 crore), BSP (Rs 252 crore), CPM (Rs 122.53 crore), SP (Rs 71.30 crore), NCP (Rs 57.40 crore), RJD (Rs 6.20 crore) and CPI (Rs 2.40 crore).

Criminal records

* 25 pc of MLAs in poll-bound states have criminal cases
* Tamil Nadu tops with 76 MLAs followed by Kerala-69, West Bengal-45, Assam-7 and Puducherry-6
* 25 from Tamil Nadu faced very serious criminal charges including murder and kidnap
* Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi is richest followed by AIADMK leader J Jayalalitha

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