Thursday, March 18, 2010

Crorepatis bare their riches

Crorepatis bare their riches
Bangalore, Mar 17, DHNS:

The City’s rich, prospective corporators appear to have garnered a good proportion of tickets that both the Congress, the BJP and the Janata Dal (S) distributed in the course of the past week, a random analysis of their fortunes made as part of required financial and assets disclosures indicates.

A significant point that emerged from the analysis, which involved each estimating each would-be corporator’s net worth was that not only did their returns reflect that some of them are crorepatis but the bulk of their assets was in real estate.

Although electoral rules stipulate that a candidate can spend up to Rs 5 lakh for the constituency he will contest, a more realistic figure is that a majority of the candidates who secured nomination have worked out a budget of around Rs 1.50 to Rs 2 crore as the expenditure they are likely to incur during the polls. The total amount that all the candidates would end up spending is around Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 crore. Although each ward has a voting population of approximately 30,000, the candidates with money power will end up spending a lot more than the Rs 5 lakh ceiling.

“One should first prove one’s ability to spend to secure a ticket to contest the elections. Only when the respective party leadership is convinced that an aspirant is capable of spending such a huge sum that his/her name is shortlisted for ticket nomination. A secondary factor is influence and political and social work experience. Almost all parties have stopped extending financial support to candidates to fight the elections,” sources pointed out.

A former Bangalore mayor said that when he contested a decade ago, he spent Rs 70,000 of which Rs 5,000 was provided by his party. “This time I am not contesting because I can’t afford to. I will have to sell my house to conduct the campaign. I don’t want to take that risk”, he said.

Former mayors

All three former mayors in the fray for the BBMP elections are worth over Rs 7 crore each with the major portion of their asset in real estate. K Chandrashekar, a former Basavanagudi MLA, owns five apartments and eight plots in various parts of the City. His apartments are located in Gavipuram, Ashoknagar, K R Road, Basavanagudi and Shankarpuram. Besides, he has a cash and bank balance of nearly Rs 15 lakh and vehicles worth Rs 21 lakh, according to the affidavit of assets and liabilities filed by him along with the nomination papers.

A three-time corporator and once mayor, Chandrashekar, who is a BCom graduate, is contesting from Hanumanthanagar ward. He unsuccessfully contested the 1998 Assembly elections. A bachelor, Chandrashekar does not own any jewellery and, according to his affidavit, he has liabilities of nearly Rs 3.5 crore.

Another former mayor P R Ramesh, who had taken up a legal battle against the State Government for delaying the BBMP polls, owns four residential plots, a commercial plot in Peenya and 18 acres of agriculture land in Tavarekere. He owns plots in Basavanagudi, Yeshwanthpura hobli, Chandra Layout and Banashankari 3rd stage.

While Ramesh has no liabilities, his wife owns 3 kgs of gold worth Rs 45 lakh. A diploma holder in civil engineering, Ramesh is contesting from V V Puram ward. J Narayanaswamy, widely known for scrapping the pay-and-park system during his tenure as Bangalore mayor, owns residential and commercial plots worth Rs 4.50 crore.

His liabilities are to the tune of Rs 1.70 crore. He is contesting from Jalahalli ward and has studied till PUC. A businessman and land developer, Narayana-swamy owns a school. Both Chandrashekar and Ramesh are seeking election as corporators on Congress tickets for the fourth time.

The richest among prospective corporators is senior BJP leader and IT&BT and Housing Minister Katta Subramanya Naidu’s son Jagadish (31) who is contesting from Vasanthnagar. He has declared that his net assets is worth Rs 15 crore. Jagadish, whose educational achievement was till the PUC level, has invested around Rs 3.5 crore in various business ventures and lent around Rs 9 crore.

Besides, he owns a commercial building worth nearly Rs 51 lakh and his wife owns an apartment whose value has been declared to be over Rs 21 lakh. Interestingly, this young BJP candidate has more jewellry than his wife -- 2 kg of gold and 9.84 kg silver against 1.65 kg gold and 4 kg silver owned by his wife. He has studied up to PUC.

While Venkatachalapati, contesting from Banaswadi, is worth over Rs 14 crore, D Muniraju, who is contesting from Nagarabhavi, is holds assets estimated to be about Rs 8 crore. Experts in the real estate sector agree that the present market value of the properties declared by the wealthy candidates will be much more than what has been declared in the affidavits.

Former cricketer Dodda Ganesh’s wife Neethu (26), a JD(S) candidate from HMT ward, has cash worth Rs 2 lakh, bank deposits that amount to Rs 3 lakh and owns gold to the tune Rs 1.5 lakh. Dodda Ganesh owns a Honda CRV car and Rs 3.20 lakh worth gold. Neethu has studied till the SSLC level.

Hooch queen

Former corporator Marimutthu, who is known as Bangalore’s hooch queen, is also in the fray as the JD(S) candidate from Sagayapuram. Worth over Rs 90 lakh Marimutthu’s liabilities total Rs 27 lakh. A primary school dropout, Marimutthu owns six residential houses in various parts of the city.

BBMP elections

* A good number of candidates are crorepatis

* A majority have worked out a budget of Rs 1.50 crore to Rs 2 crore for the poll

* Roughly, Rs 2,000 crore may be spent by candidates

* As per the rule book, a candidate can spend a maximum of Rs 5 lakh


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