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Meira 2.5 times richer now

- Shotgun explains politicians’ wealth surge since 2009

Patna, March 22: Politicians’ assets have risen by three or four times since the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009 though actor-turned-politician Shatrughan Sinha has a plausible explanation for that.

Affidavits furnished by candidates who have filed nomination papers for contesting general elections 2014 show that every politician, cutting across party, profession, region, class or community, seems to have multiplied his or her assets in the past five years. (See chart on Page 4)

Take the case of Speaker Meira Kumar, a sitting Congress MP seeking re-election from Sasaram. Her affidavit indicates her cash in hand is 2.5 times of what it was during the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. She had Rs 10 lakh with her in 2009. She has Rs 25 lakh now. Her total movable assets have grown from Rs 94.68 lakh to Rs 1.57 crore in just five years, the affidavit said. She does not have any vehicle but her husband owns two, a Toyota Innova and a Hyundai Verna.

Shotgun or Bihari Babu Shatrughan Sinha’s movable assets have nearly doubled from Rs 8.08 crore in 2009 to Rs 14.90 crore in 2014. His immovable assets saw a whopping increase from Rs 6.91 crore in 2009 to 109.91 crore this election. But the Patna Sahib MP explained: “Earlier, we (contestants) used to furnish the book value of the property or the rate at which we purchased the assets. But now, the Election Commission wants us to list the actual market value of property/assets. So, there would, naturally, be a huge surge in valuation of the property,” Sinha told The Telegraph.

The BJP’s Nawada candidate, Giriraj Singh, had just Rs 16.65 lakh in movable assets, including Rs 5,000 in hand, during the 2008 Legislative Council polls. He now has Rs 70.1 lakh in movable assets. His immovable assets went up from Rs 53.26 lakh in 2008 to Rs 4.10 crore now. When contacted for comment, he said: “Please excuse me, sir. I am busy in a programme (campaining).”

The ruling JD(U) is not lagging far behind. Its Pataliputra candidate Ranjan Yadav owned an Ambassador in 2009 but now rides a Honda City. He and his kin owned jewellery valued at Rs 11 lakh in 2009. It is now worth Rs 23 lakh.

LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan’s son Chirag, who unsuccessfully tried his hand at films, has movable assets worth Rs 14.14 lakh, including Rs 25,000 cash in hand.

Chirag owns a house worth Rs 90 lakh in Patna’s SK Puri area for which he had taken a Rs 44.58 lakh housing loan from a bank. He does not possess any vehicle in his name.