Sukh Ram's son may have misdeclared assets to EC
Convicted former Congress minister Sukh Ram's son Anil Kumar appears to have misdeclared his assets in 2007.
No one can the forget wads of currency notes discovered in former Communications Minister Sukh Ram’s bedroom during a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) raid 16 years ago. A huge stash of Rs 3.6 crore was hidden inside pillow covers, mattress and sofa covers.
But even as Sukh Ram, convicted in three corruption cases so far, but still out of jail on various grounds, his son Anil Kumar, sitting Congress MLA from Mandi constituency, Himachal Pradesh, seems keen to repeat history. There’s no cash trove under his bed, but his election affidavits reveal wealth that one never suspected he had.
In the rush for re-election, Anil Kumar seems to have ended up disclosing two properties that he had acquired before 2005.
These two multi-crore properties had found no mention in his disclosure of assets submitted during the 2007 assembly elections. In 2012, however, Anil Kumar submitted his nomination papers from the Congress along with disclosure of assets for the Mandi constituency. He has listed two properties which he had apparently concealed in the 2007 election affidavit.
With just three days to go (the polling in Mandi is on 4 November), Anil Kumar may find himself answering tough questions on whether he made incorrect disclosures about his assets in 2007. If the Election Commission finds he did conceal something, he could face heavy fines or even disbarment as a candidate. (See his 2007 and 2012 disclosures here and here)
One property listed in the 2012 disclosure of assets is a 1,966 square yard plot located at Block Sarabha Nagar in South Ludhiana, Punjab. Anil Kumar’s wife Sunita Sharma had purchased this property for Rs 2.4 crore on 28 October 2005. Its current market price is pegged at Rs 15.65 crore.
The second property is agricultural land measuring four bighas in district Kullu. Anil Kumar acquired this property in his own name for Rs 1.32 lakh on 4 July 1986. Its market value today is Rs 48 lakh, as mentioned in his 2012 disclosure.
During the 2007 Assembly elections, however, Anil Kumar’s affidavit failed to disclose these two properties.
He had declared assets—moveable and non-movable—worth Rs 3.11 crore in the disclosure statement of 2007. In 2012, he has disclosed that his wife had spent Rs 2.4 crore in 2005 to buy one property in Ludhiana, Punjab.
Anil Kumar has topped the list of sitting MLAs whose assets have phenomenally grown in the past five years. His assets have grown from Rs 3.11 crore in 2007 to Rs 29.70 crore in 2012, registering the highest increase of Rs 26.59 crore among sitting MLAs.
Not only this. In the meanwhile, he has invited several legal charges, with the authorities slapping three cases against him on some import deals and for food adulteration under Section 16 of the Prevention of Food Adulteration (PFA) Act, 1954. All the cases are pending in a court of law.
According to the 2007 disclosure of assets, Anil Kumar owned cars such as Maruti and Hyundai, whose total cost didn't even cross Rs 8 lakh. But in 2012, he has a fleet of cars with brands like Pajero, Volkswagen, Polo and Toyota Innova.
Firstpost had tried to reach Anil Kumar through phone and email to get his version on the disclosures. But has not responded to the mail so far and his phone was perennially switched off.
In 2003, the Election Commission had made it mandatory for every candidate to submit an affidavit in Form 26 disclosing his or her assets and liabilities. It was noted in 2004 that many candidates had grossly undervalued information, mainly about their assets. Since then, the Commission, in a report, has recommended more stringent punishment for concealing or providing wrong information on Form 26. It has recommended a minimum of two years' imprisonment and removal of the alternative punishment of assessing a fine upon the candidate.
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