High Asset

Poll affidavits reveal how assets of Congress ministers swelled in 5 years

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The assets of majority of ministers who served in Punjab’s incumbent Congress government registered a significant increase over five years after they were elected to the state Vidhan Sabha in 2017, reveals an analysis of affidavits submitted by them to the Election Commission while entering the poll fray for the upcoming February 20 elections.

MLA Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, who represents Gidderbaha and became state’s Transport Minister after CM Charanjit Singh Channi took over, leads the list of ministers for registering maximum increase in his assets.

From assets worth Rs 2.8 crore that he and his wife collectively had in 2017, the couple now boasts of assets worth Rs 14.78 crore, recording almost five-time, or 427 per cent, increase in five-year period.

The liabilities of Warring and his wife taken together at Rs 4.83 crore pale in front of the increase in the worth of their assets in five years. Warring is contesting again from Gidderbaha as a Congress nominee. As per income tax return of Warring, details of which are part of affidavit submitted by him, Warring had an income of Rs 22.48 lakh and his wife, Amrita Warring, had an income of Rs 24.74 lakh in 2020-21 financial year. The highest qualification of 44-year-old Raja Warring is matriculation, completed in March 1995 from Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), Mohali.

The worth of assets of former minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi along with wife saw a nearly two-fold increase from Rs 9.58 crore in 2017 to Rs 17 crore in 2022. Sodhi was elected on a Congress ticket from Guru Harsahai in 2017. He was dropped as minister after Capt Amarinder Singh’s ouster as Punjab CM in September last. Sodhi (68) joined BJP in the run to polls and is now party’s candidate from Ferozepur City constituency. As per IT return for 2021-22, details of which are mentioned in Sodhi’s affidavit, his income is shown to be Rs 26.43 lakh and of his wife Rs 19.58 lakh. Sodhi is a matriculate from Kendriya Vidyalaya No. 1, Ferozepur Cantonment, completing the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) education in 1970.

The worth of movable and immovable assets, taken together, of Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal (including that of his wife) grew from Rs 40.28 crore in 2017 to Rs 72.7 crore now, an increase of 80 per cent in five years. Manpreet is electoral fray on Congress ticket from Bathinda (Urban) constituency where he registered victory in the last Assembly elections. Manpreet (60) is the Finance Minister in the incumbent Congress government.

As per affidavit he submitted to contest February 20 polls, Manpreet’s income tax returns for the 2020-21 fiscal in individual capacity and under HUF (Hindu Undivided Family) showed an income of nearly Rs 3.16 crore, out of which Rs 2.47 crore was income from agriculture. The worth of Deputy CM Om Parkash Soni’s assets grew from Rs 18.28 crore in 2017 to Rs 28.34 crore ahead of upcoming elections, marking an increase of 55 per cent in five years.

While the immovable assets owned by Soni and his wife were worth Rs 11.74 crore and Rs 5.5 crore, respectively, in 2017, the minister now boasts of immovable assets worth Rs 18.58 crore and his wife of Rs 8 crore. Soni, who is contesting as Congress candidate from Amritsar Central — the constituency he had been representing for a long time and from where he was elected in 2017, had an income of Rs 13.06 lakh as per his IT return for 2020-21. His wife had an income of Rs 7.06 lakh in the corresponding period. With higher secondary as highest educational qualification which he acquired in 1974, Soni has mentioned his occupation in the affidavit as “politician” and “agriculture”.

Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Razia Sultana, who represents Malerkotla constituency as MLA and is seeking re-election as Congress candidate from there, has assets worth Rs 10.91 crore along with her husband and retired DGP-rank officer Mohammad Mustafa, up from Rs 7.25 crore in 2017 and showing a percentage increase of 50. Razia served as Transport Minister before her portfolio was changed after Cabinet reshuffle in September last year. The income tax return details mentioned for 2020-21 in the affidavit show an income of Rs 29.25 lakh by Razia and Rs 37.98 lakh by her husband Mustafa. Three-time legislator, Razia (55) is a matriculate, studied at Government Girls High School, passing the exam in 1983.

While majority of the ministers who served in Congress government recorded an increase in assets, Punjab CM Charanjit Singh Channi’s assets decreased in five years. Channi and his wife had assets worth Rs 14.5 crore in 2017.

As per the recent affidavit, Channi, who is contesting from Chamkaur Sahib and Bhadaur constituencies as Congress nominee, and his wife now have assets to the tune of Rs 9.44 crore, a decrease of 35 per cent in five years. Channi (58) is a law graduate, did an MBA and is now pursuing PhD, as per affidavit submitted by him. He had an income of Rs 27.84 lakh and his wife of Rs 26.21 lakh, as per IT return details mentioned for 2020-21 (Channi’s) and 2021-22 (his wife’s) in the affidavit. While majority of the ministers got richer in five years, the assets of minister Rana
Gurjeet Singh registered a decrease of 26 per cent, from Rs 169 crore in 2017 to Rs 125 crore now. Rana Gurjeet is Congress candidate from Kapurthala constituency.Among other heavyweights, the assets of Akali leader Bikram Singh Majithia who is locked in a fierce contest with Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Navjot Singh Sidhu from Amritsar East constituency registered a sharp decrease, from Rs 24.98 crore in 2017 to Rs 11.84 crore worth assets he and his wife own ahead of February 20 polls.



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