Friday July 01, 2022

In India, politics and crime go hand in hand

Narendra Modi was also facing charges relating to Muslims’ massacre in 2002 riots in Gujarat when he was the state chief minister

May 02, 2022
In India, politics and crime go hand in hand

NEW DELHI: In India, politics and crime go hand in hand as many chief ministers, union and provincials ministers, parliamentarians have criminal cases against them.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also falls in this list, for he had been facing charges relating to Muslims’ massacre in 2002 riots in Gujarat when he was the state chief minister. It was only in 2020 when a court dropped Modi’s name from the riots case, accepting his plea that he was ‘cleverly’ connected to the riots. However, Gujarat riots continue to be Modi’s headache.

According to an analysis issued by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) poll rights group, at least 42 percent of the 78 ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Union cabinet following the massive reshuffle in July 2021 had criminal charges against them. As per the research, four of these ministers were involved in attempted murder cases.

The ADR is a polling rights organisation that regularly releases reports ahead of elections, tallying affidavits to determine politicians' criminal, financial, and other background facts.

The ADR used electoral affidavits to highlight 33 ministers (42 percent) in the new cabinet who had declared criminal proceedings against them in its analysis of the Union council of ministers in the 17th Lok Sabha following its expansion. Of these, 24 ministers (or 31% of the total number of members) have been charged with serious criminal offences, such as murder, attempted murder, or robbery.

In elections of the states, including UP, Punjab and Goa, number of candidates having criminal background rises in state elections after 2017 elections. In Punjab, seven out 11 ministers were facing criminal cases. In UP, 22 ministers in UP and seven ministers in Goa had criminal charges against them.

According to a report published in Indian media on December 14, 2018, Madhya Pradesh Assembly had 94 MLAs with criminal cases and 187 multi-millionaires in its new assembly. The Congress, which won the Assembly polls, leads the list with 56 MLAs having criminal antecedents, followed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with 34 while the Bahujan Samaj Party had two such lawmakers.

In yet another report prepared by two NGOs and published December 15, 2018, 27% of Chhattisgarh MLAs were facing criminal cases. Overall, 19 MLAs of the Congress and three legislators of the BJP are facing criminal cases.

In Telangana, 73 legislators out of the 119, who were elected in the recently concluded Telangana assembly polls, had criminal record even as average assets of an MLA doubled when compared to that of a member in the previous House.

According to ADR, 47 MLAs had declared serious criminal cases, including cases related to attempt to murder, crime against women, among others, against themselves. "MLAs with criminal cases, out of the 119 MLAs analysed, 73 (61 per cent) MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves."

Of the 119 MLAs analysed during Telangana Assembly elections in 2014, 67 (56 per cent) MLAs had declared criminal cases against themselves, says report. About 44 per cent of the newly sworn-in ministers in Goa had declared criminal cases against themselves, out of which three have serious charges filed against them, according to poll rights body ADR.

Goa Election Watch and the ADR had analysed the self-sworn affidavits of all nine ministers, including Chief Minister Pramod Sawant. The ADR said four (44 per cent) ministers have declared criminal cases against themselves and three (33 per cent) ministers have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.

According to the ADR report, serious criminals cases meant those offences which carry punishment of five years or more. On December 4, 2018, the Indian Supreme Court was informed that there were 4,122 criminal cases pending, some for over three decades, against present and former members of Parliament and legislative assemblies.

The apex court had sought detailed data on the pending criminal cases against the present and former legislators from the state and various high courts so as to enable the setting up of an adequate number of special courts for expedited trial in these cases.

The data compiled stated that in 264 cases, the trial has been stayed by high courts. Further, the report said in several cases which have been pending since 1991, charges have not yet been framed.

Over a year ago, the Supreme Court, in a big step towards decriminalising politics, had ordered political parties must make criminal records of their poll candidates public within 48 hours of their selection.

In a move to stop state governments from misusing their powers, the court also said criminal cases against MLAs or MPs cannot be withdrawn without approval from High Courts. In an earlier ruling in February 2020, linked to the Bihar election in November, the Supreme Court had said candidates must upload these details either within 48 hours of their selection or at least two weeks before the first date of filing nomination papers. That has now been limited to only 48 hours.

The verdict had said all political parties had to explain why they chose candidates with criminal cases and disclose details of the cases on their party website along with the reasons for selecting such candidates. The Election Commission had directed political parties to publish this information on candidates in newspapers.


    Rana Talukdar commented 2 months ago

    Very laborious, detailed and important STAFF reporting for Pakistani awam who r otherwise demoralised and under humiliation nowadays. Only problem is that two-year-old statistics and not clear Whether they r proved guilty in the court of laws or merely FIR filled against them.

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