ET: Cabinet ministers declare assets; Kamal Nath richest with Rs 263 crore
Cabinet ministers declare assets; Kamal Nath richest with Rs 263 croreECONOMIC TIMESNEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had taken strong exception to a remark last month by a senior member of parliament on his personal integrity, led his council of ministers in declaring their personal assets on the official web site. His wealth is estimated at Rs.5 crore and he owns a Maruti 800 of 1996 vintage.
Minister of Urban Development, Kamal Nath's assets were the highest at Rs 263 crore, whereas Defence Minister, A K Antony's assets amounted to Rs 1.8 lakh, which was the lowest.
Home Minister P Chidambaram's assets amounted to Rs 11 crore and the Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's assets totaled Rs 1.8 crore.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's assets amounted to Rs 12 crore whereas External Affairs Minister, S M Krishna's assets amounted to Rs 22.15 crore.
The list included details of the prime minister, 32 cabinet ministers, seven ministers of state with independent charge and 37 ministers of state. However, 18 ministers failed to declare their assets even after three reminders.
In a three-page declaration, the prime minister's personal wealth, which included land, property, as well as cash and bank balances, has been estimated at Rs.5.1 crore ($1.3 million). Deposits in banks amount to Rs.3.3 crore ($733,000).
In contrast, the poorest member of his ministerial council is Defence Minister A.K. Antony whose declared wealth is less than Rs.1 crore ($222,000), while Urban Development Minister Kamal Nath could be the richest with stakes in over 25 companies and several high-end properties.
Speaking on the debate on corruption in the Lok Sabha Aug 25, the prime minister had said he was hurt by the remarks made by Bharatiya Janata Party's Murli Manohar Joshi, attacking his personal integrity during his long years in public life.
"Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi is not here. Yesterday, he made a powerful speech and he turned (it) into a personal attack on me as if I am the fountainhead of corruption and that I have knowingly connived at corruptions of some of my colleagues," he said.
"I would like to assert before this House that I have a public life in the service of this country for nearly 41 years. In these 41 years of my public life, 20 years in parliament I have tried to serve this country to the best of my ability," he said.
"All I can say is that if any wrongdoing has been done by me, I invite the Leader of the Opposition to look at my property which I may have accumulated in the last 41 years, my members of my family," he said.
"I would accept the verdict of the Leader of the Opposition (Sushma Swaraj), if they find that I have used public office to amass wealth for myself or for any member of my family."
In the assets declared by Manmohan Singh, the residential house in Chandigarh is valued the most at Rs.90 lakh in terms of present market rate, followed by one at Vasant Kunj in the national capital which is valued at Rs.88.67 lakh.
A former governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), it is evident the prime minister does not believe much in speculative investments, as he neither holds shares, nor does he have much of jewellery. He has declared just 150.8 grams of gold valued at Rs.2.75 lakh.
He may travel in a custom-made BMW on official duties, but when it comes to his personal car, it is a Maruti 800 of 1996 vintage, valued at Rs.25,000 -- less than $560.