Tripura polls: 16 crorepatis in fray

Sixteen of the total 249 candidates in fray for the February 14 Assembly elections in Tripura have property of over Rs 1 crore, according to an NGO.

Of the 16 "crorepati" candidates, 12 belonged to the Opposition Congress, one to the ruling CPI-M, one to BJP and the rest are Independents, Tripura Election Watch (TEW) secretary Biswendu Bhattacharya said on Monday.

Congress' Biplab Kumar Ghosh, who is contesting from Matabari Assembly seat, is the richest with assets of Rs 9.29 crore, followed by Dilip Sarkar (Cong) from Badharghat Assembly constituency and Pranajit Singha Roy (Cong) from Radhakishorepur Assembly constituency with assets worth Rs 4.58 crore and Rs 4.03 crore respectively.

CPI(M) candidate and Tripura Minister for Commerce and Industries Jitendra Chowdhury has property valued at Rs 1.55 crore, the NGO said.

Bhattacharya said of the total candidates in fray, 19 have criminal cases against them. Charges have been framed against 12 of the candidates and one of them has been accused under Prevention of Corruption Act, he said.

Expressing concern over the PAN and Income Tax returns filed by the 249 candidates, National Election Watch programme coordinator Mashqura Fareedi said, "88 per cent of the candidates didn't file any income tax returns".

She said nine candidates, including five from CPI(M), three from Congress and one from BJP, with assets of over Rs 40 lakh did not declare their PAN details. The defaulter included state Finance Minister Badal Choudhury.

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