Three out of four ministers in the new Bihar cabinet have a criminal record, a report from election watchdog Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) showed.
While 19 out of 29 ministers in the previous cabinet had a criminal record, the number has now gone up to 22, the ADR report said.
On 26 July, Nitish Kumar of Janata Dal (United) resigned as chief minister of Bihar’s coalition government, parted ways with Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress, and returned to office the next day in a new alliance with Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
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Out of the 22 ministers who had declared criminal cases in their election affidavit, the cases against nine are of a serious nature – including attempt to murder, theft, use of dangerous weapons and making illegal payments during an election.
While two JD (U) MLAs have murder-related charges, the BJP MLA from Motihari, Pramod Kumar, has the most number of pending criminal cases.
In terms of declared assets, while the number of crorepati ministers has come down from 22 in the previous cabinet to 21 in the present one, the average wealth of the cabinet still stood at Rs2.46 crore. Labour minister and BJP legislator from Lakhisarai, Vijay Kumar Sinha, was the richest as per the affidavits, with assets totaling Rs15.6 crore. Another BJP legislator, Mangal Pandey, declared the least wealth, with assets worth Rs49 lakh.
Out of the 29 ministers in the new cabinet, only one is a woman.