12 ministers in Modi Cabinet facing cases

NEW DELHI (TIP): If Prime Minister Narendra Modi takes Supreme Court observations on excluding Ministers with criminal antecedents seriously, he has a tough call to take as 12 of 45 ministers in his Cabinet have criminal cases against them and two of them — Uma Bharti and Gen V K Singh – have charges framed against them. If Gopinath had been alive, he would be the 13th such minister.

While Minister of State Nihal Chand faces allegation of rape though there is no case against him presently. Though there is no concrete order on the removal of ministers with criminal antecedents, the Supreme Court verdict puts the onus on prime ministers and chief ministers to take a call on such ministers. This is the second major judgment on the issue of criminalisation of politics, the first being the one on disqualification of an MP or MLA if he/she is convicted for more than two years.

The Supreme Court had initially barred people to contest from jails but it was later changed. The 12 ministers with criminal cases in the NDA government include Muzaffarnagar-riots accused Sanjeev Balyan, Nitin Gadkari, Ramvilas Paswan, Maneka Gandhi, Harsh Vardhan, Dharmendra Pradhan, Upendra Kushawa, Danve Raosaheb and Juel Oram. Water Resources Minister Bharti has two cases, including the Babri Masjid demolition case in which charges have been framed.

Former Army chief V?K?Singh faces trial related to a case filed during a series of protests in Delhi. Bharti has a total of 13 cases, including those of attempt to murder and causing communal disharmony. Most of the ministers have cases related to political protests. Eight ministers have declared serious criminal cases, including attempt to murder, causing communal disharmony, kidnap and electoral violations. Kushwaha and Paswan have cases of electoral malpractices while late Munde had a case related to kidnapping against him.

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