New Delhi: A total of
140 out of the 241 members of the Rajya Sabha claim that they have
no financial interests, despite owning assets running into crores
of rupees, said an activist Thursday.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has also declared no financial
interests, but has assets worth more than Rs.4 crore.
"It is strange how one can have huge assets and no financial
interests," said Anil Bariwal, national coordinator of National
Election Watch (NEW).
An analysis of data on MPs' financial interests received from
Rajya Sabha by NGOs NEW and Association for Democratic Research (ADR)
showed a large number of them having share or control in private
firms or enjoying financial gains from firms or other professions.
The activists, who got the data through right to information
applications, said some of the MPs showed huge assets in their
declaration to the Election Commission.
The financial interests declared by the MPs include income as
directors of companies, controlling shares, regular salaries, paid
consultancies and professional engagements.
The highest asset holder among those who said they had no
financial interest is Congress's T. Subbarami Reddy of Andhra
pradesh, with total assets worth Rs.258 crore. He is followed by
Congress's Karan Singh, with assets worth Rs.57 crore. Bharatiya
Janata Party's M. Venkaiah Naidu holds assets worth Rs.7 crore.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni of the Congress
also figures in the list of those who declared no financial or
pecuniary interests. She declared assets worth Rs.17 crore.
The activists said that the data was given to them only after two
and half years of applying for it. The information commission even
issued notice to the Rajya Sabha secretariat directing it to give
For Lok Sabha, no such list of interest is maintained.
"Conflict of interest and money power is a deterrent for
democracy, but the Indian parliament is lacking in transparency on
the matter of financial interests of its members," said Bariwal.
"We have written to Lok Sabha speaker to have a list of interests
for the members, but we are still waiting for a response," he