New report reveals 35 percent of India’s Chief Ministers have criminal charges

A new report [press release, PDF] by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) [advocacy websites] on Monday reveals that 11 of the 31 chief ministers of the various states and union territories of India, representing 35 percent of the chief ministers, have declared criminal charges against themselves in self-sworn affidavits.

The chief ministers represent the heads of the various state governments and are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the state. These affidavits were the latest filed by the individuals prior to contesting in assembly elections of the various states.

Eight of these 11 chief ministers have declared charges as serious as murder, attempted murder and criminal intimidation. These chief ministers belong to various political parties including the major national parties—Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Indian National Congress(INC),—the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Aam Admi Party (AAP), the Marxist Communist Party of India (CPI-M), the Janata Dal-United Party (JD-U), and the Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party(JKPDP) [party websites]. Some of the individuals named as having criminal charges include Nara Chandra Babu Naidu, Arvind Kejriwal [official profile], Amarinder Singh, Chandrasekhar Rao, and Mehbooba Mufti.

The report further reveals that twenty-five of these chief ministers have personal assets in excess of ₹10 million (USD $155,600), with two of them—Naidu and Pema Khandu, chief ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Arunuchal Pradesh, respectively—having a personal net worth in excess of ₹1.29 billion (USD $20 million). These figures contrast significantly with the net worth of the chief ministers of Tripura, West Bengal, and Jammu & Kashmir, which are approximately ₹2.6 million (USD $40,500), ₹3 million (USD $46,700), and ₹5.5 million (USD $85,600). Three of the chief ministers only have 12th grade-level education, 12 have an undergraduate degree and only one has a doctorate.

The report was compiled with chief ministers’ affidavits obtained from the website of Election Commission of India(ECI) [official website], and various nomination papers. None of the individuals named have yet commented on the report.

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