Criminal charges mean more likely to get elected, gain assets: Survey
Wealth of most candidates has grown "abnormally" by up to 1,000%, especially for the ones with serious criminal charges who also have greater chance of winning compared to clean candidates.
New Delhi: Wealth of most of the candidates contesting more than once in a decade has grown "abnormally" by up to 1,000 per cent, especially for the ones with serious criminal charges who also have greater chance of winning compared to clean candidates, according to a survey.
An analysis of self-sworn affidavits of the candidates by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and National Election Watch (NEW) has found that wealth of 317 candidates, who re-contested the elections, had grown by over 1,000 per cent.
Between 2004 and 2013, in 10 years, a total of 62,847 candidates contested either state or parliamentary elections and of them 4,181 candidates recontested elections.
Of these, the asset of about 1,615 candidates showed an increase of over 200 per cent, 684 showed an increase of over 500 per cent, 420 of over 800 per cent.
"This is clearly an abnormal increase in wealth," said Trilochan Sastry, a Professor at IIM Bangalore and also the founder of ADR and NEW.
"When we filed an RTI with the Income Tax department asking about the actions taken by them against those people whose wealth has shown an abnormal increase. Their reply simply was that we have done the needful as per the laid down procedure," said Jagdeep Chhokar, a retired Professor of IIM Ahmedabad and founding member of ADR, NEW.
The NGO analysed the record of a total of 8,790 Members of Parliament (MPs) and Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs), who have held seats since 2004 either in Parliament or State Assemblies.
It also came to light that 162 (about 30 per cent) out of the 543 Lok Sabha MPs have declared criminal cases against themselves, while 76 (14 per cent) of the current Lok Sabha MPs have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
40 out of 232 (17 per cent) sitting MPs from Rajya Sabha have declared criminal cases against themselves while 16 (seven per cent) of the current Rajya Sabha MPs have declared serious criminal cases.
Out of 4,032 sitting MLAs from all state assemblies, 1,258 (31 per cent) have declared criminal cases against themselves while 15 per cent of the current MLAs from all state assemblies have declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
A total of 11,063 out of these 62,847 (18 per cent) candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves while 5,253 (eight per cent) out of the 11,063 candidates had declared serious criminal cases against themselves.
When it came to clean candidates contesting and winning the elections, it was found that there were only 12 per cent chance of them winning election, while there were 23 per cent chance of winning an election with serious criminal record.
The research was done based on the affidavit filed by the candidates during the Parliamentary and Assembly elections between 2004 and 2013.
The study found that, during a decade, the average assets of all candidates (62,847) was Rs 1.37 crore, while that of all MPs and MLAs (8,790) at Rs 3.83 crore. The average assets of 2,575 MPs and MLAs with criminal cases was Rs 4.30 crore and for 1,187 MPs or MLAs with serious criminal charges has been Rs 4.38 crore.
Of the 4,181 candidates, who had recontested more than one elections, 3,173 showed an increase in wealth.
The average increase in wealth of all 4,181 recontesting candidates was Rs 2.34 crore, almost double. The average assets of these 4,181 recontesting candidates has grown from Rs 1.74 crore to Rs 4.08 crore.
Attacking political parties for fielding tainted persons pleading ignorance about their criminal records, the study found that of the 4,181 repeat candidates, 1,072 had criminal case the first time they contested an election and 788 had cases the second time also.
"This means political parties gave tickets to 74 per cent of candidates with criminal records the second time also despite having information on their criminal background from previous elections," said Chhokar, adding it`s high time that electoral reforms are introduced.
It also came to light that the total number of candidates with criminal cases increased second time as there were 507 others (out of 4,181) who showed no criminal cases in their first election affidavit but declared in second elections.
The total percent of candidates with criminal records given tickets by political parties rose from 26 per cent to 31 per cent.
"If we look at serious criminal cases a similar picture emerges. Of 540 candidates with serious charges, 353 or 65 per cent were given tickets for the second time. In addition to them there were 289 other candidates with no criminal cases in the first election, but who had declared cases in the second round of elections," the study found.
There had been cases pending against 788 contesting candidates since their declarations in the previous election.
It means the candidates continue to contest elections, while charges against them remain pending in courts without any resolution and some of them even continue to be a people`s representatives.
According to study, 75 per cent of MPs or MLAs have got elected on Shiv Sena tickets since 2004 have declared criminal cases against themselves (Of 137 Sena MPs or MLAs, 103 have declared criminal cases).
Of the 125 MPs or MLAs of Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), 58 have declared criminal cases, out of 272 MPs and MLAs of Janata Dal (United), 120 have declared criminal cases.
BJP had 31 per cent of MPs or MLAs elected on its tickets since 2004 have declared criminal. Out of 1,689 BJP MPs or MLAs, 520 have declared criminal cases while of the 2,451 Congress MPs or MLAs, 527 have declared criminal.
There were a total of 51,784 candidates who had not declared any criminal cases, whereas 11,063 candidates have declared criminal cases against themselves.
Out of 8,790 MPs and MLAs analyzed since 2004, 6,215 have not declared any criminal cases, whereas 2,575 MPs or MLAs have declared criminal cases against themselves.
It came to light that of the total 62,847 candidates, only 4148 or seven per cent were women. Only 675 or 16 per cent of the women candidates fielded won whereas 8,115 or 14 per cent of the men fielded had won.
414 (10 per cent) of the 4,148 women candidates, who have contested elections since 2004, have declared criminal cases and 161 or four per cent had declared serious criminal charges.
11 or 16 per cent of the 675 MPs or MLAs, who are women, have declared criminal cases and 37 or six per cent have declared serious criminal charges.
2,464 or 30 per cent of the 8,115 MPs or MLAs, who are men, have declared criminal cases and 1150 or 14 per cent have declared serious criminal charges.