98 MLAs, 7 MPs under probe for spike in wealth

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New Delhi:As many as 98 MLAs and seven Lok Sabha MPs — whose assets witnessed a multifold increase in a short span of time — are under investigation, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) told the Supreme Court .
In an affidavit filed in the top court on the disproportionate assets of elected politicians, the CBDT said a preliminary assessment of assets of 42 more MLAs was being examined.
The petitioner had alleged a substantial increase in assets of 26 Lok Sabha MPs, 11 RS MPs and 257 MLAs as reflected in election affidavits.
Of the 257 MLAs, the CBDT said, 98 were found to have substantially increased assets and were being further probed.
The Income Tax Department will further investigate assets of seven of 26 Lok Sabha MPs who had a huge increase in assets, the CBDT said, adding it has shared the probe status and result with regard to elected representatives with the Election Commission. No further probe has been taken up against any Rajya Sabha MP.
The CDBT is expected to submit the names of lawmakers under probe in a sealed cover on Tuesday to the top court, which is seized of a PIL filed by Lok Prahari, an NGO, on disclosure of sources of income by the candidates when they file nomination for elections.
The CBDT affidavit comes five days after a Bench headed by Justice J Chelameswar had asked the Centre to furnish the details of the probe.
According to the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) that works for electoral reforms, the assets of four current Lok Sabha MPs have increased by 12 times while 22 others declared a five-fold increase in their assets. A newly-elected Rajya Sabha MP declared an asset growth of over 21 times since his last affidavit.
While filing nomination papers, candidates were disclosing their assets, assets of their spouse, children and other dependents, but they did not reveal the sources of income, SN Shukla of Lok Prahari contended. The petitioner wants inclusion of a column in the nomination form to list details of a candidate’s sources of income.

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