16 of Bihar’s 31 ministers have guns

Apart from guns, the ministers, as per their affidavits, also display an inclination for investing in jewellery and ornaments.
Fishery and animal husbandry minister Mukesh Sahni (HT File)
Fishery and animal husbandry minister Mukesh Sahni (HT File)
Published on Jan 01, 2022 10:01 PM IST
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By, Patna

Ministers in the Nitish Kumar cabinet are not only well off in terms of landed property and movable assets but they also have a fascination for guns, as per the latest update of assets declared by 31 ministers in the Bihar government.

Altogether, 16 ministers, including state’s deputy chief minister Renu Devi, own rifles and pistols, their prices ranging from 50,000 to 4 lakh.

As per the affidavits of assets declared by ministers on December 31, 2021, as part of annual exercise introduced in 2011 by chief minister Nitish Kumar to bring transparency in government, the CM himself does not own any arms and his net assets consist of a flat in New Delhi worth 58.85 lakh and movable assets worth 16.51 lakh.

In 2021, Kumar’s cash in hand decreased by about 6,500. He has declared having only 29,385 in hand in 2021, as against 35,885 in 2020.

Kumar’s son Nishant, however, is richer than him, having immovable assets, including inherited land, valued at 1.98 crore and movable assets valued at 1.63 crore.

Kumar’s two deputies, Tar Kishore Prasad and Renu Devi, are richer than him.

Prasad has a net worth above 2 crore in the form of ancestral and self-acquired property but has become poorer in terms of cash in hand. Prasad, who holds the finance portfolio, had 56,000 in cash in 2020, which has now reduced to 10,000.

Renu Devi’s cash in hand has increased substantially, from 48,504 in 2020 to 4.51 lakh in 2021.

Among the top most ministers in terms of net worth includes fishery and animal husbandry minister Mukesh Sahni, whose immovable assets is valued at 8.34 crore and movable assets at 1.31 crore, including 98 lakh investment in debentures/mutual funds.

However, Sahni, who was the richest among his cabinet colleagues in 2020, has now become poorer by few crores. In his last affidavit in January 2021, the former Bollywood set designer had declared assets worth around 13 crore, including apartments and buildings in Mumbai.

Other rich ministers include water resources minister Sanjay Jha, health minister Mangal Pandey, science and technology minister Sumit Singh, excise minister Sunil Kumar, labour resources minister Jibesh Kumar and panchayati raj minister Samrat Choudhary. Their net worth is between 2 crore to 5 crore.

Fascination for guns is a striking aspect. A total of 16 ministers possess arms ranging from rifles, double barrel guns to pistols.

Janak Ram, minister for mines and geology, has a 30.06 bore rifle valued at 1.25 lakh and a .32 bore pistol valued at 4.05 lakh. Similarly, panchayati raj minister Samrat Choudhary too has a rifle valued at 4 lakh.

Among the three female ministers in the Nitish cabinet, deputy chief minister Renu Devi and food and consumer protection department minister Leshi Singh have arms. While Renu Devi has a pistol and rifle, Leshi Singh has a rifle and a double-barrel gun.

The other ministers holding licensed arms include Jama Khan, Jayant Raj, Narayan Prasad, Sunil Kumar, Sumit Kumar Singh, Subhash Singh, Ashok Choudhary, Santosh Suman, Mangal Pandey, Ram Surat Kumar, Shravan Kumar and Pramod Kumar.

“Possession of arms by people, including ministers, is more of a status symbol,” social scientist Rakesh Tiwary said, adding that such practice by ministers should be discouraged as it was not in sync with the good governance agenda of the Nitish Kumar government.

Apart from guns, the ministers, as per their affidavits, also display an inclination for investing in jewellery and ornaments.

Deputy CM Renu Devi has 510 grams of gold valued at 23.82 lakh while 1.95 kg of silver worth 1.19 lakh.

Transport minister Sheela Kumar has jewellery worth 16.20 lakh.

A few ministers are poorer than their spouses.

For instance, road construction minister Nitin Nabin has a net worth of 63.84 lakh while his wife has assets (both movable and immovable ) worth 1.48 crore.

Wives of other minister like Jibesh Kumar, Samrat Choudhary and Sumit Singh too are richer than spouses.

Headline: Riches in the Cabinet

Intro: Ministers declared their assets on Dec 31, 2021, as part of annual exercise introduced in 2011 by CM Nitish Kumar to bring transparency

CM’s assets

A flat in New Delhi worth 58.85 lakh

Movable assets worth 16.51 lakh

Sahni poorer, but still richest

Immovable assets worth 8.34 crore

Movable assets worth 1.31 crore

2 of 3 female ministers fully armed

Dy CM minister Renu Devi has a pistol and a rifle

Food minister Leshi Singh has a rifle and a double-barrel gun

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    A journalist for 21 years, Anirban covers RJD, legislature and government beats. Has extensive experience in covering elections and writes regularly on finance, land reforms, registration, excise and socio-economic issues.

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