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Atul Patankar

Assets of ministers, kin exempted from RTI queries: PMO

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karira

As reported in indianexpress.com on 22 November 2010:

Raja's stock investments soar 170%

 

Raja's stock investments soar 170%

 

Former Telecom Minister A Raja's investment in shares and fixed deposits have increased by nearly 170 per cent from 8.52 lakh to a little over Rs 23 lakh during one year, annual property returns of the Ministers provided by Prime Minister's Office in an RTI reply show.

In the year 2008-09, the minister has invested Rs 8.52 lakh in shares while his wife had an investment of 3.04 lakh in the shares but in the year ending March 31, 2010, Raja's investments in shares increased to a little over Rs 23 lakh.

 

His spouse's investment have also increase by Rs Six lakh, the property returns filed by the Minister show.

 

The details came through the reply to an RTI application filed by S C Agrawal seeking to know the latest asset details of the Ministers of the Union Cabinet.

 

Raja, who resigned following the controvesy surrounding alleged corruption in the allotment of telecom spectrum, invested in 19 companies including Public Sector Undertakings, airlines, software companies among others.

 

Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee who had declared assets worth Rs 6.7 Lakh last year has shown an increase of nearly 40 per cent with declared properties and cash touching little over Rs 10 lakh this year.

 

Defence Minister A K Antony's movable property showed a marginal dip this year. Antony had declared Rs 1.8 lakh in his two bank accounts but this year his account had a little over Rs 84,000 only.

 

One of the richest member of Union Council of Ministers, Minister of state for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia has also shown a marginal increase in his assets from Rs 22.7 crore in 2009 to Rs 24 crore this year, the reply showed.

 

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's movable and immovable properties have shown a marginal increase from Rs one crore during fiscal ending 2009 to Rs 1.10 crore during 2010. Although his three out of four properties have not shown any increment in their value, his ancestoral property has shown an increase of about Rs 16,000.

 

Home Minister P Chidambaram's declaration also showed a similar trend with his assets growing marginally from Rs 10.3 crore to Rs 10.4 crore this year. The Minister also took advance of Rs 3.5 lakh, the RTI reply shows.

 

Commerce and Industries Minister Anand Sharma's assets increased by nearly 29 per cent from Rs 2.6 crore in 2009 to 3.4 crore in fiscal ending March 31, 2010.

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karira

As reported in economictimes.indiatimes.com on 23 November 2010:

UPA2: Praful richest and Mamata poorest minister - The Economic Times

 

UPA2: Praful richest and Mamata poorest minister

 

 

NEW DELHI: The income and asset details furnished by ministers to Prime Minister’s Office for 2009-10 have some surprising claims. Textiles minister Dayanidhi Maran, whose family owns a media empire, is worth just Rs 6.87 crore. His assets include a Mercedes E class valued at Rs 8.10 lakh and a Toyota Innova at Rs 12.24 lakh.

 

He is not the only who has modest assets. Minister of new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah earns a paltry Rs 100 from two kanals (equivalent to 1,011.714 square metres) of land in Srinagar. What is intriguing is that he earns not even a single penny from 45 kanals (22,764 square metres) of orchard. Dr Abdullah has refused to give details about the market value of land and bungalows he owns, making his overall worth just Rs 2.5 lakh.

 

Thanks to his non-disclosure, he is poorer than railway minister Mamata Banerjee , who has conscientiously declared gold jewllery and all other possessions worth Rs 10.28 lakh.

 

Dr Abdullah has refused to spell out any cash certificates, ornaments and other possessions of his family, including his wife: “Since my family is away in London from April 1990, I have no knowledge about the items shown as cash certificates/ ornaments. After ascertaining the facts, information will be made available.”

 

There are quite a few surprises in the 450 pages of information disclosed by PMO under Right to Information (RTI) Act to activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal. Former telecom minister A Raja, whose role in 2G spectrum allocation is under the scanner, is worth Rs 1.95 crore. He is poorer than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh (Rs 4.86 crore), law minister M Veerappa Moily (Rs 3.07 crore) and several others. HRD minister Kapil Sibal , whose net worth is Rs 29.22 crore, has declared Toyota Corolla, Hyundai Sonata, Suzuki Jeep, Enfield motorcycle and Reva electric car, among other possessions.

 

Though PMO has made it mandatory for all Cabinet ministers to declare income and assets as soon as they assume office, there is no set format of such a declaration. For instance, many Cabinet ministers like Krishna Tirath have not declared the net worth of gold jewellery and silver owned by them, restricting it just to the weight.

 

Minority affairs minister Salman Khurshid and his family have shares in cold storage at Pitaura in Kaimganj, Uttar Pradesh. However, he has refrained from mentioning the exact worth in rupees of this share restricting himself to percentage share statistics only.

 

Minister of state Srikant Jena, with a declared income and asset value of Rs 64.16 lakh, has not mentioned any value for over four acres owned by him. Similarly, minister of overseas Indian affairs Vayalar Ravi owns assets worth Rs 18.68 lakh but has not mentioned the worth of 30 cents (1,214 square metres) of land and 900 grams of gold.

 

“Ministers are not filing their asset information on time. I had applied for information under RTI Act on September 10. I got the details more than two months later on November 18. When I did not receive the reply after the mandatory 30-days, I had gone for appeal and PMO sought more time for furnishing this information. The details from ministers were hurriedly gathered and sent across,” RTI activist Agrawal said.

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MOHANDAS

Dear Sir,

The declared assests through the Media, do you think, is the real only assests owned by the concerned Ministers. It is only a tip of the ice berg. When the saturation point arried then the Ministers/Politicians will think to invest in the names of ther kith & kins which are not in the scanner. Taking loopholes in the law, they utilize the maximum opportunity to put a lid on the real value of assests owned by the Politicians & Ministers. General public is running from pillar to post to met their both ends and where they will get enough time to scrutinize such dubious activities the Ministers/Politicians. We can get some news through the media when there is some rivaliary or other compelling circumstances. Why not the E.D and I.T Deptt., file suo-motto cases when they find there is wealth disproportionate to their known source of income ? When a lower grade clerk indulges in taking Rs.100/- it matters for the authorities however, big wigs are allowed to play freely.

 

MOHANDAS.

As reported by Swaraj Thapa at indianexpress.com on Sep 08 2010

 

RTI effect: Ministers will have to declare latest assets

 

New Delhi : Forced by an RTI application, the government today decided to declare the assets and liabilities of Union ministers on demand by the public.

The Union Cabinet approved a proposal to adopt norms for greater transparency after RTI activist Subhash Agrawal asked the Central Information Commission (CIC) to issue a notice to the PMO for not providing details of assets of ministers and their kin following an RTI application.

 

Agrawal complained of “non-compliance” by the PMO after it failed to provide “complete details of wealth and assets of ministers” despite a CIC order.

 

Sources said that the Cabinet approved the proposal without much discussion, though ministers have in the past ignored reminders by the PMO to annually update declared records of their wealth. The PMO had issued such a directive after the government was formed in May 2009.

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MOHANDAS

Dear Sir

 

Thanks for the information. At last the PMO office mentally prepared to act upon the advice of the Hon'ble CIC. This is the power of RTI Act 2005 in its right perspective. Let us derive maximum benefit out of the different provisions of the Powerful act. Thanks to the team.

 

Mohandas.

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