For former Maharashtra minister and three-time Kalina MLA Kripashankar Singh, Sunday marked a full circle in his political career.
Having started in Mumbai as a vegetable vendor, Singh went to become Mumbai Congress chief and one of the most powerful politicians in the city.
His downfall began two years ago when he had to quit as the city Congress chief following a disproportionate assets. A Special Investigation Team has submitted at least two crucial reports to the Supreme Court on the ongoing probe into his disproportionate assets case.
The results on Sunday only sealed his fate. While the Kalina seat was won Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Potnis, Singh polled only 23,581 out of the total 1,26,775 votes to finish third, behind BJP’s Amarjit Singh, also a north Indian like him.
Singh spent the entire day away from the media glare while Shiv Sena activists celebrated their party’s victory with firecrackers opposite the counting centre at Anandratra Vidyalaya in Vakola.
Insiders say these elections were also a personal fight for him. The Mumbai police probing his alleged ill-gotten wealth is now expected to file a chargesheet and seek trial under the Prevention of Corruption Act, without having to seek permission for prosecution from the Assembly Speaker, now that he is no longer an MLA. Singh is facing probe with regard to 60 properties in and around the city limits, according to sources.
His downfall, ironically, began with the election affidavit he filed before the 2009 Assembly polls. A PIL was filed in 2010 questioning his stated assets. The petitioner, Sanjay Tiwari, also questioned his stated educational background and alleged that Singh had given two different qualifications in two affidavits filed in 2004 and 2009.
In 2012, the Mumbai police registered an FIR following court’s orders. Singh was subsequently questioned twice by the SIT over allegations of assets disproportionate to his income as an MLA, which included some properties held in the name of his wife and other family member.
While Singh was embroiled in the legal fight, his voters were disenchanted with him for his long absences from the constituency.
Tariq Khan, who voted for him in the last elections, stood at Kurla Railway station watching the Sena’s victory celebrations. “His excuse always was that he is busy with DA case and is unable to come to the constituency. I guess we were not fooled this time. We voted for change.”
With Rohit Alok