Of the 227 corporators in the BMC, 53 have been involved in criminal offences. According to an analysis by NGO Praja Foundation, 17 corporators of the Shiv Sena, 11 of the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena, nine of the Congress and six of the BJP have a criminal record. Others include five Independent corporators, two from Nationalist Congress Party, one from Samajwadi Party.
Of these 53, as many as 29 have serious criminal cases against them ranging m murder and rape to molestation and extortion.
Milind Mhaske, project director at Praja Foundation, said the analysis was carried out based on the election affidavits filed by the corporators in 2012 and information sought under the Right to Information Act till December 2015. As per the Representation of the People’s Act, the candidates are required to mention information of criminal cases that attract punishment of more than two years’ imprisonment. “We have not looked at other petty cases,” said Mhaske.
While political leaders claim that the cases against them are politically motivated, experts say even cases such as rioting are filed after assessing damage to public property during protests.
“The elected representatives who are trustees of civic body’s funds are expected to not destroy the public property during protests. It is very sad to see the law-makers becoming law-breakers. They should have peaceful protests to press for their demands. Also, they should use the democratic forums to highlight the issues,” said Mhaske.