Alleged goons and a Bangladeshi are now Indian ministers in the Modi cabinet

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By Arup Chanda, Copy Edited By Adam Rizvi, TIO:   Several alleged criminals, and Bangladeshi are ministers in Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s cabinet. This is unprecedented in independent Indian history as 42 percent of the Indian ministers have several criminal cases against them including heinous crimes like murder, robbery, and causing communal disharmony.

Out of 78 ministers in Modi’s cabinet 33 have declared criminal cases against themselves, according to an analytical report by a leading election watch NGO of India, Association for Democratic Reforms. ADR is one of the oldest and leading organizations in India with Major General Anil Verma, retired, Prof. Jagdeep Chhokar, retired from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and Prof. Trilochan Sastry of IIM, Bangalore, at the helm of affairs.

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The report stated 24 Indian ministers (32 percent) have declared serious criminal cases related to murder, attempt to murder, robbery, and various more.

What is strange is that Union minister of state for Home Nisith Pramanik under whom the entire Indian police and paramilitary forces come has a murder case against him. Pramanik was elected to the Indian parliament on the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party ticket from Cooch Behar in West Bengal, a state which the ruling party desperately tried to capture during the Assembly elections three months ago but failed. Pramanik is also reported to be a Bangladeshi being born in the Gaibandha district in northern Bangladesh.

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Indian Opposition Congress party parliament MP Ripun Bora alleged and wrote to the Speaker of the House stating that Pramanik was a Bangladeshi and hence his membership of the parliament should be revoked. The entire Opposition in the parliament stalled proceedings during the monsoon session for two days.

While BJP leaders refuted the allegation about Pramanik’s nationality strangely the minister himself remained silent. The Opposition alleged that during his teens Pramanik had migrated illegally to Cooch Behar in North Bengal in India and after studying in school there joined politics as a young man. Just before the Indian parliamentary election in 2019, Pramanik joined the BJP having defected from the Trinamool Congress party of West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

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However, a Bengal BJP general secretary Sayantan Basu admitted that Pramanik hailed from Bangladesh but being a Hindu who had sought shelter in India automatically was an Indian citizen according to the clauses of the Citizenship Amendment Act passed by the Indian parliament. According to this law any Hindu seeking shelter in India from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and some other neighboring countries will be granted Indian citizenship.

Pramanik has 13 criminal cases against him which includes murder, attempt to murder, rioting with deadly weapons, possessing illegal arms, causing an explosion to endanger lives and manufacturing explosive substances, criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, criminal intimidation, theft, receiving stolen property, and preventing a public servant from discharging his official duties.

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Though an alleged criminal Indian Police Service Officers will now have to bow down to before him and salute him wherever in India he visits in his official capacity.

Pramanik’s boss Indian home minister Amit Shah is also not lagging behind. Shah elected from Gandhinagar in India’s western state of Gujarat has four criminal cases against him with three of them serious.

Along with four other Indian ministers Shah has cases related to causing communal disharmony. They have declared cases for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, and performing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony, indulging in deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs, the ADR report stated.

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The other four Indian ministers charged with these kinds of criminal cases are Gririraj Singh, elected from Begusarai, and Nityananda Rai elected from Ujiarpur in Bihar in north India, Shobha Karandlaje elected from Udupi Chikmagalur, and Paul had Joshi elected from Dharwar in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.

There are four Indian ministers with cases related to an attempt to murder. Other than Pramanik, John Barla elected from Alipurduar in West Bengal has nine criminal cases, Pankaj Choudhury, elected from Maharajgunj in north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, has five cases, and V. Muraleedharan, elected to the Upper House of the Indian parliament from the western state of Maharashtra, has seven criminal cases.

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There are seven Indian ministers with cases related to electoral violations including illegal payments in connection with an election, bribery, and undue influence or personation at an election.

Though India is a poor third-world country with its present GDP growth on the negative, its ministers are extremely rich. Out of the 78 ministers’ ADR analyzed, 70 of them, 90 percent, own more than Rs. 10 million worth of assets. The average assets per Indian minister stand at Rs 160 million with four ministers having assets of more than Rs 500 million.

On the top is India’s Civil Aviation minister Jyotiraditya Scindia belonging to one of Indian’s top royal families who had left the Congress party to join the BJP a few years ago. His total movable and immovable assets amount to Rs 37.9 billion.

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The other rich Indian ministers are Piyush Goyal with Rs 9.5 billion, Narayan Tatu Rane with Rs 8.7 billion, and Rajeev Chandrasekhar with Rs 6.4 billion.

Twelve Indian ministers, that is 15 percent, have studied only up to high school and never been to any college or university.

However, Prime Minister Modi’s own claimed qualification of being a postgraduate in “Entire Political Science” is shrouded in mystery as there is none in India who remembers him to have passed school and having studied with them in any college or university. The opposition parties claim that he is basically a school dropout who had joined the rabid Hindu organization the Rashtriya Swamsevak Sangh, many of whose members are accused of indulging in communal riots and killings of minority Muslims in India.

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In his earlier affidavits to the Election Commission of India, Modi had declared that he was single but later admitted to having been married. Modi was married to Jashodaben but he reportedly left his wife for the RSS telling her that he was meant to lead a family life but serve the cause of Hindutva.

Modi was investigated for his alleged role in the killing of thousands of Muslims during riots in Gujarat in 2002 but was given a clean chit by the Indian courts. As such, there is no criminal case against Modi but after the riots, the USA had denied a visa to him though he was then Chief Minister of Gujarat and the Gujarati community in the USA had tried its best.

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Arup Chanda

Arup Chanda

Arup Chanda is an investigative journalist based in India with 37 years of experience having worked in leading English dailies, television channels, international wire agencies, and news portals. His areas of specialization are politics, terrorism, narcotics trafficking, and human rights violations. He has worked all over India and covered events in South Asia. He has traveled all over the USA under the prestigious International Visitors’ Programme, in Europe and South Asia.

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