Modi shares stage with murder accused - who is Jharkhand BJP candidate Shashi Bhushan Mehta?
Photo: Raghubar Das/Twitter

Shashi Bhushan Mehta the BJP candidate from Panki for the upcoming Jharkhand elections stands accused in a murder case.

In 2012, Mehta, then the Director of Oxford Public School was arrested for the murder of his school’s warden, Suchitra Mishra, says an earlier report by The Telegraph. Her body was recovered from beside a road near the Gandhi Ashram in Dhurwa. At that time, police officials had claimed that Mehta and several accomplices that he had hired for the job had killed the widow to get out of a relationship he was having with her for several years. He is currently out on bail.

More recently, a photo of Mehta sharing the stage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi has gained traction on the internet.

He is not the only candidate with criminal accusations to his name. Another candidate fielded by the BJP for the polls, Bhanu Pratap Shahi, stands accused in a Rs. 130 crore medicine scam.

But this is not restricted to a single party. According to data compiled and analyzed by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), 67% Congress candidates contesting the phase 2 of the Jharkhand Assembly polls slated for December 7, have criminal cases against them.

The data, reports IANS, revealed that 26% of the total candidates in the fray have criminal cases against them, while 17% have declared serious criminal cases. Among those analysed 67% of those who declared criminal cases against themselves in their affidavits are from the Congress, 50% from JMM, 42% from AJSU, and 40% each from the BJP and JVM-P. In terms of serious criminal cases the Congress is leading with 50% candidates.

Overall, 4 candidates have declared cases related to crime against women, of which one individual has declared cases related to heinous crimes like rape. 8 candidates have declared that they have cases under IPC Section-307 which pertains to attempt to murder. 4 others have declared cases of murder against them. There are three candidates who have conceded that they have earlier been convicted of crimes.

But these are yet-to-be-elected politicians contesting a state election. Indisputably important, but perhaps a tad less worrisome than the statistics from the Lok Sabha.

According to a May 2019 ADR report, nearly half of the current Lok Sabha members have criminal charges against them. And nearly 29% of the cases are related to rape, murder, attempt to murder or crimes against women, reported PTI.

As compared to 2014, this is a 26% spike.

The ADR analysed 539 winning candidates and found that as many as 233 MPs or 43% have criminal charges.

When broken up by political parties, the BJP had 116 MPs (39% of its winning candidates), followed by 29 MPs (57%) from the Congress, 13 (81%) from the JDU, 10 (43%) from the DMK and nine (41%) from the TMC.

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