Of the 78 ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Union cabinet following the mega reshuffle earlier this week, at least 42% have declared criminal charges against them, according to a new report released by the Association for democratic reforms (ADR). Of those ministers, four have cases linked to attempted murder, according to the report.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi awarded portfolios to the newly inducted lawmakers shortly after their swearing-in ceremony earlier this week on Wednesday. A total of 15 ministers were inducted into the cabinet, while 28 lawmakers were awarded Union Minister of State posts. Thus, the total number of members of the Prime Minister’s Council of Ministers now stands at 78.
In his Analysis of the 17th Lok Sabha Union Council of Ministers following its expansion, ADR cited electoral affidavits to point out that 33 ministers (42%) in the new cabinet declared criminal proceedings against them. Of these, 24 ministers (31% of the total membership) have declared “serious” criminal cases against them – which include counts of murder, attempted murder or robbery.
The ADR is a voting rights group that frequently publishes pre-election reports, compiling affidavits to verify criminal, financial and other details of politicians.
In addition, around 90% of the members of the new Union cabinet (70 ministers) are millionaires, i.e. they have declared a total wealth of more than 10 million (one crore), the ADR report pointed out.
Four ministers – Jyotiraditya Scindia (over 379 crore), Piyush Goyal (more 95 crore), Narayan Rane (more 87 crore), and Rajeev Chandrasekhar (more 64 crore) – were classified as ‘high wealth ministers’ meaning they declared assets worth more than 50 crores.
The average value of assets per minister was found to be around 16.24 crore, the report notes. The cabinet ministers who declared the cheapest assets of the lot are – Pratima Bhoumik from Tripura (more than 6 lakh), John Barla from West Bengal (more 14 lakh), Kailash Choudhary from Rajasthan (more 24 lakh), Bishweswar Tudu of Odisha (more 27 lakh), and V Muraleedharan from Maharashtra (more 27 lakh).