140 Rajya Sabha MPs have no pecuniary interests?

140 Rajya Sabha MPs have no pecuniary interests?

Voluntary groups, Association of Democratic Reforms and National Election Watch, which received this information under the Right to Information Act, today made public the Register of Interests of Rajya Sabha Members where, under rules, they declare their interests in various companies, businesses and renumeration received.

The form mandatory to be filled within 90 days of taking oath requires a Rajya Sabha member to declare their interests under five heads -- remunerative directorship, shareholding of controlling nature, regular remunerated activity, paid consultancy and professional engagement.

The group said as per information received by them, out of 232 MPs whose details have been furnished by Rajya Sabha, 140 have declared they do not have any pecuniary interests in the heads given in the declaration form. "However, in their declaration forms given to Election Commission, some of these 140 MPs have declared assets worth crores. According to Election Commission data about 58 per cent of RS members are 'crorepati'. It is interesting to see that they have assets yet no regular pecuniary interests," Anil Bairwal, National Coordinator, National Election Watch and Association for Democratic Reforms said.

The top three MPs who have said they do not have any pecuniary interests, yet have high assets, includes T Subbarami Reddy of Congress having total declared assets worth Rs 259.25 crore, Congress' Karan Singh with assets of Rs 57.89 crore and Shiv Sena's Rajkumar Dhoot having assets of Rs 29.53 crore.

Others in the list include Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with assets (Rs 4.30 crore), Congress's Avinash Pandey (Rs 29.05 crore), Ambika Soni (Rs 17.59 crore), Satish Sharma (Rs 14.05 crore), G Sanjeeva Reddy (Rs 6.68 crore) Vilasrao Deshmukh (Rs 5.92 crore), MS Gill (Rs 4.53 crore) among others.

It also includes names of former BJP President M Venkaiah Naidu (7.72 crore), DMK's K P Ramalingam (4.48 crore), Sukhdev Singh of Shiromani Akali Dal (4.04 crore). The information shows 28 Rajya Sabha MPs are paid for directorship in various companies with highest amount received by Vijay Mallya of IND who gets Rs 39.45 crore annually followed by Naresh Gujral of SAD who gets 4.5 crore and Congress' Vijay Darda who gets Rs 4.54 crore.

Under shareholding of controlling nature, 33 MPs have declared they have financial interests under this head with highest number of such shareholding declared by Congress' Anil Lad (27 companies) followed by his party's Vijay Darda (21 companies) and Mallya (12 companies).

"According to the Rajya Sabha rules, MPs having interests have to declare it before speaking on the floor of the House but it will be interesting to know if the practice is followed," said Trilochan Shastry, Founder Member of ADR and a professor at IIM Bangalore.

The information which was received by the group after efforts of two and a half years of filing the application shows 28 MPs have declared that they get Regular Renumeration, seven have financial interests in the form of paid consultancy and 43 have professional engagements. The top MPs who have declared the highest remuneration -- cumulative of directorship, regular remunerated activity and professional engagement -- include Abhishek Manu Singhvi who leads the chart getting Rs 50 crore per annum followed by Vijay Mallya Rs 41.4 crore, Arun Jaitley Rs 10 crore, Ram Jethmalani Rs 8.41 crore and Naresh Gujral Rs 4.79 crore among others.