Seven Karnataka Ministers, including Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy, face criminal charges ranging from forgery to causing death by negligence, said two election watchdogs in a report in Bengaluru on Friday.
The report by the Karnataka Election Watch and Delhi-based Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) was based on analysis of the poll affidavits belonging to 26 of 27 cabinet ministers, save Women and Child Development Minister Jayamala, the lone woman minister, whose affidavit was not available, ADR said.
It said that seven (27 per cent) of the 26 ministers, including Kumaraswamy have declared criminal cases against them, while four ministers, including him, face serious criminal charges.
The other six ministers are Venkatrao Nadagouda (Animal Husbandry and Fisheries), B.Z. Zameer Ahmed Khan (Food and Civil Supplies), D.K. Shivakumar (Water Resources and Medical Education), D.C. Thammanna (Transport), N. Mahesh (Primary and Secondary Education) and Ramesh L. Jarkiholi (Municipalities and Local Bodies).
Kumaraswamy faces serious criminal charges, including forgery for the purpose of cheating, causing disappearance of evidence, and other charges relating to criminal breach of trust.
Twenty-five of the 26 ministers are crorepatis, as per the asset declarations in their poll affidavits, with Shivakumar being the richest with total assets worth Rs 840 crore.
Kumaraswamy is also among the top five ministers with highest declared assets and income, with total assets worth over Rs 160 crore.
Two of the ministers have only studied up to class 8 - with Higher Education Minister GT Deve Gowda being one of them.
A dozen of the 26 ministers have declared their educational qualifications to be between class 8 and 12, and 14 are graduates and above.
In a pre-poll survey by the election watchdogs, of the 2,654 candidates who were in the fray for the state election, 883 were crorepatis and 645 had criminal cases against them.
The BJP candidates were found to be with the highest number of criminal cases against them, with 83 (37 per cent) of the 223 in the fray having criminal cases against them and 58 others (26 per cent) having serious criminal cases against them including murder, attempt to murder and kidnapping etc.