Becoming a corporator puts you on the fast track to prosperity, if the affidavits filed by many of the sitting corporators, who are contesting again this year, are anything to go by.
Data accessed concerning the assets of many low-profile corporators in 2007 and in 2012 shows that in some cases the total worth has risen by as much as 3,300% in five years.
Parubai Katke, the lone Bahujan Samajwadi Party corporator, and her husband Dattu Katke have seen one of the steepest hikes in their total worth.
Katke was elected in 2007 from Mahim fort, earlier represented by her husband. She listed their wealth as Rs 2.8 lakh in her nomination papers in 2007. Now, her husband, who is standing from the same ward on a Peace Party ticket, has filed an affidavit that declares the couple’s total assets at Rs 96.45 lakh. That’s a 3,344% rise.
Justifying the rise, Dattu said: “I deal in cement and sand, run a hotel in Dharavi and I have a farm in my native village. So the rise in my asset value is natural.”
Congress corporator Rajendraprasad Chaube, who has been a member of the standing committee, also saw a meteoric rise in his assets. In 2007, his total assets were pegged at Rs 6.25 lakh. Five years later, his affidavit declares his assets as Rs 1.8 crore, a 2,788% hike. Despite repeated attempts, Chaube could not be reached for comment.
Another Congress corporator, Vinod Shekhar from Colaba, saw his assets rise by 185 per cent, from Rs 64 lakh in 2007 to Rs 1.83 crore in 2012. Said Shekhar: “Any person who is an elected representative should have his own legitimate business, in which case a sharp rise in assets is okay. An increase in assets is not a crime but the increase should be accounted for.”
Vivek Gilani, founder, Mumbaivotes.com, a portal that is part of the National Election watch, an exercise in helping people choose the right candidate, said: “There’s a disparity in the growth experienced by the common man and their elected representatives.”
Tongue-in-cheek, Gilani added: “Perhaps we should study the business model of these politicians so that we experience a similar rise in assets.”