Assets of 7 MPs, 98 MLAs saw “substantial increase“, CBDT tells SC

At least seven members of Parliament and 98 members of legislative assemblies of states have seen ''substantial increases'' in their assets and the matter is under investigation, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) told the Supreme Court on Monday.

The CBDT told the apex court that it will submit the names of these members in a sealed cover on Tuesday.

CBDT said the Income Tax Department has conducted preliminary investigations into their assets. The I-T probe has revealed that there had been "huge" increases in the Lok Sabha MPs' assets and "substantial" increases in MLAs' assets.

The Supreme Court was hearing a plea by NGO Lok Prahari on the income and assets disclosed by candidates contesting elections to Parliament and state assemblies while filing nominations.

The petitioner has alleged increases of up to 500 per cent in the assets of some politicians.

The Supreme Court, however, expressed unhappiness over the centre's non-disclosure of the action it has taken against these politicians whose assets saw an exponential rise during their tenure. The apex court had directed the government to place necessary information in this regard before the court, but the government has not complied with this.

The CBDT also informed the Supreme Court that a preliminary assessment is underway into the assets of another nine Lok Sabha MPs, 11 Rajya Sabha MPs and 42 MLAs.

The petitioners also pointed out that the candidates, while disclosing the assets of their spouses, children and other dependants in their nomination papers, fail to reveal their sources of income.

The preliminary investigations by the I-T department followed the filing of a plea by Lucknow-based NGO, 'Lok Prahari', which sought an inquiry into the significant increase in the assets of 26 Lok Sabha MPs, 11 Rajya Sabha MPs and 257 MLAs, as was stated in their election affidavits.