New Delhi, Oct 06, 2018: An investigation by the Cobrapost has revealed that 194 Indian lawmakers, incuding 6 former chief ministers and 10 sitting ministers, across the country submitted fake PAN details to the Election Commission.
On comparing poll affidavits filed by politicians in between the two election years of 2006 and 2016 and the data on the Income Tax Department website, Cobrapost found that either of the two different PANs submitted by the concerned politicians in their affidavits were non-existent.
Cobrapost says, in most cases, the deviations in the PAN details have been done by changing one or two digits so that it looks like the original one at the first glance.
In their article, Cobrapost also noted, "We would like to put it on record that nowhere in this story do we claim all 194 politicians who have been found to have misrepresented their PAN details in their affidavits to the ECI have done so deliberately. Maybe out of human error there have been some erroneous entries, but it is hard to believe that all of them would have done so."
Out of the 194 lawmakers, 72 of them are from the Congress and 41 from the BJP and the list features names from several other prominent political parties including, Samajwadi Party, Bahujan Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Hindustani Awami Morcha (S), according to Cobrapost.
The big names revealed by Cobrapost investigation include former Assam Chief Ministers Tarun Gogoi and Bhumidhar Barman, former Chief Minister of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi and and former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Virbhadra Singh.
Cobrapost in its article noted that there is a direct correlation between the false disclosures and the growth in the income levels of many politicians, sometimes jumping manifold between two elections while their tax disclosures have become weaker, hiding more than they reveal.