chief minister of Uttar Pradesh and his family own much more than they
have declared. Vineet Khare uncovers their property
is Lucknow’s premier address. The top brass of Uttar Pradesh politics
and bureaucracy, including Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav reside
here. There is a heavy presence of police personnel and traffic is restricted.
The Samajwadi Party office is also on the same Marg.
one goes by property disclosures filed by Mulayam and son Akhilesh
during the 2004 Lok Sabha elections, he was worth Rs 1.15 crore
and Akhilesh Rs 2.32 crore. Now, they have told the Supreme Court
that they have property worth under Rs 10 crore. But they haven’t
accounted for the leap
most famous resident is under a cloud these days. It all started with
a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in December 2005 in the Supreme
Court by Congress worker Vishwanath Chaturvedi, alleging that Yadav,
who is also the president of the Samajwadi Party, has assets disproportionate
to his known sources of income. The PIL claimed that the CM and his
family own properties worth crores of rupees.
News about a politician’s
undeclared assets running into several crores is no news really to a
citizenry accustomed to hearing about the people’s representatives
sitting on personal kitties running into a few thousand crores of rupees.
Even then the personal journey of a political leader — who, for
all his shortcomings, will always represent the awakening and empowerment
of the backward classes in the Hindi heartland — from being an
acolyte of Ram Manohar Lohia to being a mentor to Amar Singh makes the
cynical Indian citizen pause. From Socialism to Page 3 socialites —
it’s been a long journey.
Stall owners selling
party flags and knick-knacks outside the Samajwadi Party office say
they are doing brisk business and the recent controversy over “Netaji’s”
assets has been “politically motivated”. “Netaji will
tide over any crisis and emerge victorious,” said one.
According to the
petition, when he was the state cooperative minister in 1977, Yadav
had submitted an affidavit disclosing his assets as three bighas of
pucca agriculture land and a house in village Saifai, along with a residential
plot in Etawah. However, in the last 28 years, Yadav, his sons Akhilesh
and Prateek, and his daughter-in-law Dimple (Akhilesh’s wife)
have acquired a lot of property and wealth.
In a counter-affidavit
filed in April this year, Yadav denied that he is worth several hundreds
of crores and claimed that his total wealth “comes to less than
Rs 10 crore.” What came as a jolt to Yadav was the Supreme Court’s
order on June 7 that he submit details of his income and wealth returns
for the last three years. The Court asked Yadav, his two sons and daughter-in-law,
to explain within four weeks the source of the disproportionate wealth
they have been accused of acquiring in the last six years.
A vacation Bench
comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and CK Thakker brushed aside objections
from the chief minister’s counsel and gave the Income Tax department
the go-ahead to continue its investigation into the sources of the Yadav
family’s income while the case is being heard. This has given
ammunition to his rivals, his supporters dismiss it as a Congress ploy
to tarnish “Netaji’s” image.
If one goes by property
disclosures filed by Yadav and his son Akhilesh during the 2004 Lok Sabha
elections, they are modestly rich, with Yadav himself worth Rs 1.15 crore
and Akhilesh, slightly more with Rs 2.32 crore. According to the disclosure,
Yadav’s assets include 14.02 acres of agricultural land worth Rs
26.57 lakh and, what appears to be a grossly undervalued 5,000-square-feet
plot worth Rs 56,000 in Etawah’s Friends Colony. There is no mention
of any agricultural income. As on March 31, 2004, the disclosure says,
he had a little over Rs 17,000 cash and around Rs 24 lakh in the bank,
with nearly Rs 1 lakh in fixed deposits. There is no mention of any assets
in his wife or younger son Prateek’s name.
In his disclosure,
Akhilesh states that he has only Rs 21,000 in cash, and his wife Dimple
a paltry Rs 20,000. Akhilesh had a modest Rs 24 lakh in bank and Rs
10 lakh in fixed deposits. Dimple had Rs 15 lakh in bank and fixed deposits
worth Rs 11,500. At the time Akhilesh also owned a house worth Rs 11
lakh, and his wife a house worth Rs 15 lakh and jewellery worth Rs 24
lakh. Going by the disclosure, all in all, the Yadav family’s
assets were not insubstantial but relatively modest.
In Arms: Akhilesh is party to the spree
Things sure seemed
to have changed in the next two years. According to documents with Tehelka,
the Yadav family went on a property-buying spree. Many properties were
purchased in the name of Akhilesh, Dimple and Prateek, the total amount
running into several crores. It is not at all clear where the funds
for this shopping spree came from. In Lucknow, they include properties
on Vikramaditya Marg, Mahatma Gandhi Marg, and in village Kamta on the
Lucknow-Faizabad road. Land prices in Vikramaditya Marg range from Rs
20,000 to Rs 25,000 per square feet, effectively making the average
price of a plot there over Rs 20 crore. According to land records in
Tehelka’s possession, the chief minister bought a 1315.79 square
metre plot for Rs 1.72 crore in 2005. Similarly, the family owns three
plots on Mahatma Gandhi Marg. According to the sale deeds, these are
worth Rs 28.5 lakh. Even if one goes by the amount mentioned on the
deed, the moot question is: where did the money come from? Where did
the family get Rs 44 lakh, a conversion fee that it paid for another
plot on Vikramaditya Marg?