The assets of several candidates contesting the ongoing assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir run into crores of rupees. But when it comes to paying taxes, they appear to be a tight-fisted lot.
While some candidates pay a pittance as taxes, others have nothing to give to the taxmen.
Tariq Hameed Karra of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is the richest among the 1,354 candidates in the fray with assets worth about Rs 100 crore. He, however, paid Rs 3,100 as income tax.
Karra, who is contesting the polls from Batamaloo constituency in Srinagar, is not the only ‘crorepati’ politician of the state. There are 173 such candidates, according to assets declared by them in affidavits displayed on the Election Commission website.
The National Conference (NC) has fielded the highest number of crorepati candidates (33), followed by the PDP at 18. The Congress gave ticket to 17 millionaires, while the BJP fielded eight.
Karra’s wife Asifa also figures among the top 10 richest candidates. The others are Javid Ahmed Ashai (Awami National Conference), Iftikhar Hussain Ansari (PDP), Meenakshi Sharma (Independent), Baldev Raj (BJP), Abdul Majeed (NC), Amreen Badr (Congress), Farooq Abdullah (NC) and Jayant Kumar Shakdar (Democratic Party Nationalist).
Three former chief ministers — Farooq Abdullah (NC), Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (PDP) and Ghulam Nabi Azad (Congress) — also fall in this category. Among them, Azad is the highest taxpayer, shelling out Rs 45,765 from his income for 2008-09.
While the Mufti paid an income tax of Rs 10,015 for the assessment year 2007-08, Farooq did not give any such details in his affidavit.
There are many who claim they have no cash or bank account and do not even own any immovable property. Nazir Ahmad Bhat, a PDP candidate from Gurez, is one such candidate.
Of 322 candidates with no declared assets, 21 are from the Congress, 17 from PDP, 13 from BJP and 12 from NC.
Also, of 1,354 contesting candidates, only 197 have PAN numbers. Those who have not declared their PAN numbers include sitting Lok Sabha MP from Ladakh Thupstan Chhewang, former deputy speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone (NC) and several ex-ministers. Former deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma of the Congress has mentioned that he has recently applied for PAN number.