Wednesday, February 06, 2008

An honest politician ? hah

What do you call a politician who promptly declares her income and files tax ? Normally you would claim that such a politician is very honest and a credit to society, very different from other politicians. And what happens when you find out that the politician has no income source to justify such huge incomes (over Rs. 50 crores), and the only source is that 'this is a donation from the loving masses'. It is notable that these are the loving masses who are mostly poor, who could not care less about donating to improve society, but who donate for increasing the wealth of a politician. And when the Tax tribunal takes up the case, it actually says that the love and respect for the politician is great, it believes her and stops the case.
Well, this is India. Where a normal salaried individual has to worry about sources of income, about how to conceal some amount of money made from under the table or from the buying or selling of stocks and property, and a politician is able to brazenly claim massive amounts as donations and legalize them. And the Central Government (a proper shame they, the way that they condone all illegal activities) looks the other way and does not even think about the kind of example and precedent that they are letting set. No wonder the Congress is sinking lower and lower in terms of middle class approval. Read this article in the Times of India, and you will find out more:

NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati is growing richer by the year. Last year, her income was estimated at an impressive Rs 52 crore, while she has already grossed Rs 60 crore and is expected to close the fiscal with an even bigger kitty.
Mayawati's explanation about the turnaround in her fortunes may appear a fairy tale to many, but was accepted last year by the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal which legitimized her claim. The script is likely to remain the same this year as well. More so, she is in power now. Mayawati in her statements before the taxmen and to the CBI, which is investigating her in a disproportionate assets case, had claimed that her supporters had given her large amounts of cash and pledged their personal properties out of "love and affection" and for the welfare of the downtrodden and the Dalits.

This sets an incredibly bad precedent. A politician could claim that all the money that they hold is just due to donations from their supporters, and pay the normal 33% income tax on this. No wonder other politicians (not even the famous holier-than-thou left parties) are not objecting in any way. More likely, they are watching and will eventually join the fray.
One really does not expect too much from the Manmohan Government (remember Shibu Soren, Quattrochi, and many others), but this takes the Government's willingness to look the other way to an almost criminal level. And yet, there has hardly been any major news in the papers about this.

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posted by Ashish Agarwal @ 2:18 AM