Now you know: biz details of RS members

‘Register of interest’ finally goes public after ADR’s RTI plea

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Prasanna Mohanty | November 17, 2011




The Rajya Sabha secretariat has, for the first time, made public the 'register of interest' of the Rajya Sabha members – two years after an RTI application demanded the same.

The register contains ‘pecuniary’ details (that is, financial details) of 232 out of 242 members of the upper house, according to information released by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), which had made the RTI plea.

According to the information in the register of interest, as many as 140 Rajya Sabha members have declared having no pecuniary interests – though 58 of them happen to be crorepatis, Jagdeep Chhokar, a founder of ADR, told the media here on Thursday.

Subba Reddy, a Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh, information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni and Rajya Sabha ethics committee chairman Karan Singh fall in this category.

Pecuniary details in the register of interest are submitted under five major heads: remunerative directorship, regular remunerated activity, shareholding of controlling nature, paid consultancy and professional engagements.

As per the RTI response, 28 Rajya Sabha members have remunerative directorship in various companies.

Vijaya Mallya of Kingfisher holds remunerative directorship in 19 companies which gets him Rs 39.5 crore annually.

Naresh Gujral of Shiromani Akali Dal and Y P Trivedi of NCP have remunerative directorships in four and 11 companies respectively.

Anil Lad and Vijay Darda, both Congress MPs, have shareholdings of controlling nature in 27 companies and 21 companies respectively.

Total 43 members of the upper house have such shareholdings.

As many as 28 Rajya Sabha MPs are involved in regular remunerated activities in different firms. The members include Shobhana Bhartia of Hindustan Times group.

Seven Rajya Sabha members including Amar Singh and Ravi Shankar Prasad declared pecuniary details under the head ‘paid consultancy’. Singh, currently out on bail in the cash- for- vote scam, has made Rs 54 lakh as a paid consultant.  Prasad, a BJP MP made Rs 37 lakh as a paid consultant.

Singh also figures in the list of MPs who declared details in the form of ‘professional engagement’.

Singh earned Rs 50 crore through professional engagements.

Ram Jethmalani and Arun Jaitely, both BJP MPs and lawyers by profession, earned Rs 8.5 crore and Rs 10 crore via professional engagements.

Anil Bairwal of the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) had filed RTI application with the Rajya Sabha secretariat asking for the register of interest.

On June 3rd, the central information commission (CIC) directed the RS central public information officer (CPIO) to provide the information to the applicant within ten days.

However, the CPIO said that the RS ethics committee was considering the matter.

On October 3rd, the CIC issued a compliance notice to the Rajya Sabha CPIO after which Bairwal got the information.

The second report of the RS ethics committee, presented in December 1999 recommended the formation of the register of interest.

The fourth report of the ethic committee, in 2005, identified the five pecuniary interests and recommended that members declare their interests in the prescribed form for registration in the
‘Register of Members’ Interests’.

The report was adopted unanimously by the council and recommendations enforced from the May, 2005.

Here are highlights of the report prepared by ADR on the basis of information available in the register of interest:

Based on the declarations of Register of Member’s Interest made by 232 MPs of Rajya Sabha, 140 MPs have declared on the form that they have no business/financial interest whatsoever in any of the mentioned heads and 92 MPs have declared that they have financial interest in the mentioned heads.

Remunerative Directorship-

- 28 MPs have declared that they have some financial interest in the form of remunerative directorship of a company and 204 MPs have declared that they have no financial interest under this head.

- The highest amount received from remunerative directorship has been declared by Vijay Mallya (IND, Karnataka) (Rs 39.45 crore) followed by Naresh Gujral (SAD,Punjab) (Rs. 4.54 crore) and Vijay Darda (INC,Maharashtra) (Rs. 4.54 crore).

- The maximum number of directorships have been declared by Vijay Mallya (IND, Karnataka) (19) followed by Y.P. Trivedi (NCP, Maharashtra) (11) and Naresh Gujral  (SAD, Punjab) (4).

Shareholding of controlling nature-

- 33 MPs have declared that they have financial interest in the form of Shareholding of controlling nature and 199 MPs have declared that they have no financial interest under this head.

- The highest number of shareholdings in companies have been declared by Anil Lad (INC, Karnataka) (27 companies) followed by Vijay Darda (INC, Maharashtra) (21 companies) and Vijay Mallya (IND, Karnataka) (12 companies).

Regular Remunerated Activity

- 28 MPs have declared that they have financial interest in the form of Regular Remunerated Activity and 204 MPs have no declared financial interest under this head.

- The highest amount received from Regular Remunerated Activity has been declared by Shobhana Bhartia (Nominated)(Rs 2.67 crore) followed by Vijay Mallya (IND, Karnataka) (Rs 1.85 crore) and Satyanarayana Chowdry (TDP, AP) (Rs 1.68 crore).

Paid Consultancy-

- 7 MPs have declared that they have financial interest in the form of Paid Consultancy and 224 MPs have no declared financial interest under this head.

- The highest amount received from Paid Consultancy has been declared by Parimal Nathwani (Rs 1.29 crore) followed by Amar Singh (Rs 54 lac) and Ravi Shankar Prasad (Rs 37.73 lac).

Professional Engagement-

- 43 MPs have declared that they have financial interest in the form of Paid Consultancy and 189 MPs have no declared financial interest under this head.

- The highest amount received from Professional Engagements has been declared by Abhishek Manu Singhvi (INC,Rajasthan)(Rs 50 crore) followed by Arun Jaitley (BJP,Gujarat) (Rs 10 crore) and Ram Jethmalani (BJP,Rajasthan)(Rs 8.41 crore).

- MPs with high assets and  no declaration of pecuniary interest

- A total of 140 MPs out of the total 232 MPs have declared that they have no pecuniary interest.

- The top 3 MPs who have high assets with no declaration of pecuniary interest are Subbarami Reddy (INC,AP)(Rs 258.25 crore) followed by Karan Singh (INC,Delhi)(Rs 57.89 crore) and Rajkumar Dhoot (SS,Maharashtra)(Rs 29.53 crore).

- ADR demands the following steps should be taken:

- Details of spouse and dependent should also be disclosed in the form.

- There should be a thorough scrutiny of the declarations of the pecuniary interest.

- Issue of conflict of interest must be addressed  comprehensively in terms  of ministry/panel/committee that the MPs are part of and related financial interests.

Addtional details are in the attached report.

 

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