As many as 109 candidates contesting the first phase of Uttar Pradesh assembly elections have criminal cases pending against them, according to a monitoring group.
Of the total 867 candidates in fray for the first phase of elections slated for February 8, Uttar Pradesh Election Watch (UPEW), which analysed affidavits of 284 contestants, found that 109 of them have criminal cases, including that of murder, abduction, robbery and extortion, pending against them.
SP tops the chart with 28 candidates having criminal record, followed by BSP and BJP at 24 each, Congress (15), Peace Party (12), JD-U (5) and RLD (1).
Of the 284 candidates, 144 are crorepatis, the UPEW said, adding that the average asset of each SP candidate is Rs 1.74 crore, BSP Rs 3.83 crore, Congress Rs 1.34 crore, Peace Party Rs 1.01 crore and JD(U) Rs 32.09 lakh.
BSP nominee from Colonelganj Ajay Pratap Singh has the highest assets worth Rs 12.08 crore, followed by Chaudhary Ravindra Pratap of Congress from Shohratgarh - Rs 6.56 crore and BSP candidate from Barabanki, Sangram Singh - Rs 5.5 crore.
The highest percentage increase of assets is 12,074 per cent of JD(U) candidate Kaushalendra Nath from Tulsipur, whose gross assets rose from Rs 51,94,000 in 2007 to 68.42 lakh in 2012.
Sher Bahadur of SP from Jalalpur is the only sitting MLA who has shown a decrease in assets - 35 per cent, from Rs 31.87 lakh in 2007 to Rs 20.73 lakh in 2012.
Of the 284 candidates, 96 have declared that they have never filed IT returns.
Top three candidates with maximum assets, who have never filed IT returns were SP's Farid Mahfuz Kidwai with total assets of Rs 3.52 crore, followed by Gauri Shanker of Congress with assets of Rs 2.88 crore and Ram Sajivan of BJP with assets of Rs 2.57 crore.
Of the total 867 candidates in fray for the first phase, only 65 are women, the report said.