As many as 22 union ministers have declared pending criminal cases against themselves in affidavits while filing their nomination. The Association for Democratic Reform (ADR) in a release on Friday also listed 16 ministers who have declared ‘serious’ criminal cases.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has four criminal cases pending against him, Giriraj Singh six while Pratap Sarangi from Odisha has seven pending cases.
In terms of percentage there has been an increase since 2014 when 31% of the union ministers had declared criminal cases against themselves. The percentage in 2019 has gone up to 39%, reported ADR.
The Association also reported that at least three union ministers, namely Nitin Gadkari, Giriraj Singh and Ashwani Choubey have declared cases related to electoral malpractices also. The offences against them are related to illegal payments in elections, bribery and using undue influence.
Like the Parliament, the union council of ministers also has a high percentage of Crorepatis at 91%.
The richest minister, says the ADR report, is Harsimrat Kaur Badal who has declared owning assets worth ₹217 Crore. She is followed by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal with assets worth ₹95 Crore, Rao Inderjit Singh with assets of ₹42 Crore and Home Minister Amit Shah with assets of ₹40 Crore.
As many as 16 union ministers have also declared liabilities of more than one Crore Rupees each with Harsimrat Kaur Badal again leading the pack with ₹95 Crore as liability.
At first glance, the council of ministers also appears weighed in favour of ‘ Savarnas’ or upper castes. By one count, there are 32 ministers out of 58 who belong to upper castes, nine of them being Brahmins.
There are also 13 OBCs including Prime Minister Modi and Dharmendra Pradhan. In addition there are also six ministers belonging to the Scheduled Castes, four from Scheduled Tribes, two Sikhs and a solitary Muslim, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.