At least eight ministers of the newly elected Bihar state assembly have criminal cases against them according to a report released by Association for Democratic Reforms and Bihar Election Watch.
The report titled 'Analysis of Criminal Background, Financial, Education, Gender and other details of Ministers in the Bihar Assembly 2020', released on 18th November, is based on the self-sworn affidavits submitted by the 14 ministers, including the CM, before the elections and available on the ECI website. BJP Minister Ram Surat Kumar was excluded from the analysis due to unavailability of his complete affidavit on the website.
Of the 8 with declared criminal cases against them, four are from BJP, two from JDU and one each from Hindustani Awam Morcha Secular (HAMS) and Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP). Six have been charged with serious criminal cases involving non-bailable offences or offences that warrant maximum punishment of 5 years or more.
CM Nitish Kumar declared one criminal case in which he had been charged with two serious IPCs including charges of murder. The case, registered in 1991, was about the murder of Sitaram Singh during the Lok Sabha Polls that year. The Patna High Court acquitted Nitish Kumar in March 2019.
Those with pending cases against them include Jibesh Kumar (BJP) from Jale constituency, Mukesh Sahani (VIP) from Simri Bakhtiarpur, Mewa Lal Choudary (JDU) from Tarapur, Tarkishore Prasad (BJP) from Katihar, Renu Devi (BJP) from Bettiah, and Dr Ramprit Paswan (BJP) from Rajnagar.
Of the 14 ministers, 13 are crorepatis with Mewa Lal Choudhary of JDU having declared the highest assets of over 12 crores. Ashok Chaudhary of JDU claimed least assets worth 72 lakhs. The average worth of assets of ministers of the Bihar Cabinet is Rs 3.93 crores. Of the eight ministers who have declared liabilities, Mukesh Sahani has the highest liabilities worth Rs 1.54 crores.
In terms of educational qualification, three ministers claim to have passed the twelfth grade, three to be graduate, three post-graduate, and four to hold a doctorate. Only Mukesh Sahani of the cabinet is non-matric. Renu Devi of BJP and Sheela Kumari of JDU are the only women in the cabinet.