As many as 93% of Ministers in the State Cabinet are millionaires, and criminal cases are pending against 64% of them, said the latest Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) report. All 14 Ministers from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) quota of the ruling National Democratic Alliance are millionaires; 11 of them face criminal cases; and eight are accused in serious criminal cases.
Nine out of the 11 Ministers belonging to the ruling alliance partner Janata Dal-United (JD-U) are millionaires, and four of them face criminal cases, said the 27-page report released on February 10.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s Cabinet has a total of 31 Ministers, with 17 of them sworn in on February 9. Eleven of the Ministers are below 50 years of age. Sixteen of them are graduate or above in their educational qualifications. The ADR report analysed self-sworn affidavits of 28 Ministers. Details of two of the Ministers, Ashok Choudhury and Janak Ram, were not analysed as they are currently neither members of the Legislative Assembly nor the Legislative Council. Another Minister from the BJP quota, Ram Surat Rai, could not be included in the ADR analysis due to incomplete details in his affidavit available on the Election Commission of India (ECI) website.
JD(U) leader and Minister for State Water Resources, and the Information and Public Relations Department, Sanjay Jha is the richest among his Cabinet colleagues, with assets worth ₹22.37 crore. Minority Welfare minister Mohd. Zama Khan, who won in the Assembly poll on a Bahujan Samaj Party ticket but later joined the JD(U), has the lowest asset holdings valued at ₹30.04 lakh.
Ministers from other ruling alliance parties like the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), the Vikassheel Insaan Party, and an Independent supporting the JD(U), too have criminal cases pending against them.
An earlier report by the ADR had said that nearly 68% of the members of the Bihar Legislative Assembly newly elected in 2020 from all parties had declared criminal cases pending against them, which was higher than the last Assembly poll held in 2015, when 58% of those elected had declared criminal cases pending against them in their affidavits on the ECI’s website.
Following a Supreme Court ruling, the ECI had, earlier, ordered all political parties to publish all details of their candidates on their websites, social media handles and in national newspapers as well.