27% of Modi Ministers Face Serious Criminal Charges, Says ADR Report

NEW DELHI – Nineteen of the 72 (27 per cent) newly appointed ministers in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Cabinet face serious criminal charges, an analysis of election affidavits by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) has revealed.

Among the tainted ministers, eight have FIRs against them for alleged hate speeches, while two ministers from West Bengal are accused of attempted murder, an ADR report released on Tuesday said.

Minister of State George Kurian has not been included in the analysis as he has not been elected to Parliament. His affidavit for the 2016 Kerala elections indicated no criminal antecedents.

Some of these criminal cases date back more than five years, and none of the ministers have been convicted yet. According to electoral law, a conviction would disqualify them from contesting polls for six years following their release from jail if the sentence exceeds two years.

Those accused of hate speeches include senior ministers Amit Shah, Giriraj Singh, and Dharmendra Pradhan, as well as junior ministers Bandi Sanjay Kumar, Shantanu Thakur, Sukanta Majumdar, Shobha Karandlaje, and Nityanand Rai. Notably, Thakur and Majumdar also have FIRs registered against them for attempted murder.

Many of these ministers, including Shah and Rai, have received relief from higher courts. Amit Shah was charged in 2019 in Contai for remarks suggesting that Mamata Banerjee’s government would fall and could incite violence when votes for the Lok Sabha polls were counted. The BJP’s seat count in Bengal increased from two to 18 that year, still trailing behind Trinamool’s 22 seats.

Nityanand Rai faced charges during a 2018 by-poll campaign in Bihar’s Araria for claiming that if the RJD candidate, Sarfaraz Alam, wins the elections from Araria, the region would become an ISIS den. Alam won the by-poll.

The proportion of ministers with serious criminal charges has decreased slightly from 29 percent in 2019 to 27 percent this year. However, this figure was only 17 percent in 2014.

Other notable incidents include Giriraj Singh’s remarks in Begusarai during the 2019 elections, where he said that the individuals who cannot say Vande Mataram or cannot respect the motherland, the nation will never forgive them. Singh won the Begusarai seat.

Shobha Karandlaje has two pending FIRs against her. In March, she claimed that outsiders were committing crimes in Karnataka, and in 2020, she alleged that people were denied water in Kerala for supporting the new citizenship regime.

These findings highlight the ongoing issue of criminal charges among elected officials in India, raising questions about the implications for governance and public trust.


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