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Shekhawat declares assets, wife richer

Vice-President Shekhawat declares his assets that reveal his wife, Suraj Kanwar, has more in terms of cash, jewellery and silver utensils, reports Shekhar Iyer.
Hindustan Times | By Shekhar Iyer, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 14, 2007 01:16 AM IST

Vice-President Bhairon Singh Shekhawat declared his assets that include Rs 26 lakhs cash, on Friday. The declaration reveals that his wife, Suraj Kanwar, however, has more in terms of cash, jewellery and silver utensils worth Rs 3.90 lakhs.

The NDA-backed independent presidential nominee made it clear that he owed no money to banks, government, and public utilities by way of outstanding loans or unpaid bills and official accommodation or for use of government cars and aircraft.

Shekhawat has Rs 25 lakhs in savings bank with another one lakh in cash. He has an army disposed jeep and personal jewellery worth a lakh.
Shekhawat decided to release his asset details after the Election Commission declined L K Advani’s plea make it compulsory for the Presidential candidates to declare their assets.

In terms of properties, he holds 0.99 hectares of land in his ancestral village near Sikar. The V-P also has a plot worth Rs 1.54 crore in Civil Lines area of Jaipur. He had bought it for Rs 30,000 in 1981.

His spokesperson Sushma Swaraj, who released his statement, said his intention was not to embarrass UPA nominee Pratibha Patil against whom allegations of financial impropriety have been made. “Shekhawat has not acted under any pressure nor was seeking to pressurise any one. If Patil does it, we welcome it as she would welcome his decision,” said Swaraj.

Suraj Kanwar, Shekhawat’s wife has Rs 25.86 lakhs in fixed deposits and Rs 1.25 lakh in cash. She owns gold ornaments worth Rs 5.25 lakhs and silver utensils worth Rs 3.90 lakhs. Kanwar also holds 6.28 hectares of land in Milakpur near Jaipur and two disputed plots in the state capital.

As per the declaration, both husband and wife have no non-farm land, houses or apartments.

The Congress, however, charged Shekhawat of enacting a “melodrama’’ under duress by declaring his assets. The party accused him of misleading people on the claim of no unpaid bills. Congress added it would not demean the poll process by making its nominee Patil follow suit since the law does not call for it.

(With inputs from Saroj Nagi)

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