Monday, 6 February 2012

Manifold increase in corporators assets

Civic amenities in Mumbai might not have risen noticeably since the last BMC election,but the assets of their custodians certainly have.TOI was able to access the affidavits filed by five prominent corporators seeking reelection.These,when compared to their 2007 affidavits,show a marked increase in the five leaders financial worth in the past halfdecade.The entire list of affidavits will be officially released on Tuesday.
Mayor Shraddha Jadhav,according to her 2012 affidavit,has movable assets worth Rs 1.26 crore.This is a rise of 256% since 2007,when Jadhav put her movable assetsthe category takes into account cash,bank deposit,shares,debentures,jewellery,vehicles and other financial instrumentsat Rs 35.44 lakh.In particular,there has been a growth in her bank deposits and the value of her s0 keep track of my financial assets.You need to get in touch with my PA.I am not aware of financial transactions, said Jadhav.Asked about the rise in jewellery value,Jadhav said,I had got the jewellery from my father-in-law.All this is from my marriage. The value of Jadhavs immovable assets also appreciated to Rs 1.66 crore from Rs 66.75 lakh in 2007.
Of the five affidavits TOI could access,the greatest growth was witnessed by Bhalchandra Shirsat,a senior BJP leader and a member of the BMC standing committee.While five years ago his movable assets stood at Rs 2.12 lakh,today they amount to Rs 1.08 crorea 4994% rise.During the period,Shirsats bank deposits swelled by Rs 18.25 lakh.He was unavailable for comment.
Shirsats former BJP colleague Pravin Chheda,who recently defected to Congress,too experienced an upturn in his wealth.Chhedas movable assets rose by 346%from Rs 12.66 lakh to Rs 56.47 lakhin the last five years.He had Rs 1.1 lakh in cash in 2007;today,the figure is Rs 5.65 lakh.Chheda,too,did not respond to TOIs calls.
Similar are the stories of growth of standing committee members Manoj Kotak (BJP) and Prabhakar Shinde (Shiv Sena).Kotak had movable assets totalling Rs 35.82 lakh,according to the affidavit he filed before the last civic poll.Over five years,the assets increased by 120% to Rs 78.77 lakh.Unlike 2007,he also has business ventures now.There are two reasons for the growth in movable assetsthe value of gold has increased manifold and I have started receiving profits from the projects that were ongoing in 2007. Shindes movable assets,meanwhile,rose by 170% from Rs 49.29 lakh to Rs 1.33 crore.I have been in hotel business since 2004.Eighty per cent of this amount is on bank loan, said Shinde.
Political observers warned that the affidavit figures should be read cautiously.At the same time,as professor of politics Uttara Sahasrabuddhe said,We need to dig deep into the figures and explore the reasons for the increase in the wealth.
Writer Asghar Ali Engineer agreed: There is no reason why their sources of income should not be investigated.They are,after all,public servants.

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