Of the 78 ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Union cabinet following the mega reshuffle earlier this week, at least 42% have declared criminal cases against them, showed a new report published by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) poll rights group. Of these ministers, four have cases related to murder attempts, the report showed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi allocated portfolios to the newly-inducted lawmakers shortly after their oath-taking ceremony earlier this week on Wednesday. A total of 15 ministers were inducted into the cabinet, while 28 lawmakers were given Union minister of state berths. Thereby, the total number of members in the Prime Minister's council of ministers now stands at 78.
In its analysis of the Union council of ministers in the 17th Lok Sabha following its expansion, the ADR cited election affidavits to highlight 33 ministers (42%) in the new cabinet have declared criminal cases against them. Of these, 24 ministers (31% of the total number of members) have declared 'serious' criminal cases against them -- which includes counts of murder, attempt to murder, or robbery.
The ADR is a poll rights group that frequently publishes reports ahead of elections, tallying affidavits to ascertain the criminal, financial, and other background details of politicians.
Moreover, around 90% members of the new Union cabinet (70 ministers) are millionaires, i.e. they have declared total assets amounting to over ₹10 million (one crore), the ADR report pointed out. Four ministers -- Jyotiraditya Scindia (over ₹379 crore), Piyush Goyal (over ₹95 crore), Narayan Rane (over ₹87 crore), and Rajeev Chandrasekhar (over ₹64 crore) -- have been categorised as 'high asset ministers', which means they have declared assets worth more than ₹50 crore.
The average worth of assets per minister has been found to be around ₹16.24 crore, the report noted. The cabinet ministers who have declared assets worth the lowest in the lot are -- Pratima Bhoumik from Tripura (over ₹6 lakh), John Barla from West Bengal (over ₹14 lakh), Kailash Choudhary from Rajasthan (over ₹24 lakh), Bishweswar Tudu from Odisha (over ₹27 lakh), and V Muraleedharan from Maharashtra (over ₹27 lakh).