If elected again to the Lok Sabha, outgoing Palamau MP Kameshwar Baitha is likely to retain his record of having the most number of criminal cases against a Member of Parliament. In fact, his affidavit indicates he is set to improve on that number too.
In 2009, Baitha got elected on a JMM ticket with 46 cases pending against his name. His latest affidavit, filed since his defection to the Trinamool Congress, indicates that he has crossed half century — with 51 cases.
Baitha had to attach four pages to his affidavit as his cases could not be contained in the space provided on the application form. The former rebel seemed to have aged slowly as a parliamentarian: In 2009 his affidavit declared that he was 56 years old. Five years later, Baitha’s current affidavit claims he is only 59. This is clearly a local phenomenon — Ranchi’s outgoing MP Subodh Kant Sahai stated in 2009 that he was 57; his current affidavit says he is 60.
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Former CPI-Maoist zonal commander Baitha has 23 and 17 cases registered in Bihar’s Bhabua and Sasaram respectively. He has eight and three cases in Jharkhand’s Garhwa and Daltonganj. Baitha is yet to be convicted. In 2009, he had 18 cases each in Babua and Sasaram and eight and two in Garhwa and Daltonganj.
Baitha was arrested in 2005 and released in 2011 after obtaining bail in all the cases against him. He contested in 2009 from jail. He also unsuccessfully contested the 2007 bypoll from Palamau as a BSP candidate. Before he was granted bail, Baitha was lodged at Delhi’s Tihar jail.
The JMM ditched him ahead of the polls after the reserved seat was given to the Congress in UPA’s seat-sharing agreement. Baitha tried to shift to the BJP, which turned him down.