BJP’s Rajeev Chandrasekhar says his income for 2021-2022 was ₹680 in affidavit, sparks controversy

Congress has seized upon this revelation, accusing the BJP candidate from Thiruvananthapuram of trying to hide his actual income.

ByDileep V Kumar

Published Apr 06, 2024 | 10:00 AMUpdatedApr 06, 2024 | 10:00 AM

Union Minister Rajeev Chandrashekar

In the lead-up to the hotly contested election in the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency, NDA candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar has found himself embroiled in a controversy over his reported income for the fiscal year 2021-22.

In his affidavit, Rajeev stated that his total income, as shown in the Income Tax Return (ITRs), for the said fiscal was ₹680.

However, the contrast between his reported income for the previous and subsequent years fuelled the debate.

With this, the constituency, which is expected to witness a fierce three-cornered fight, has been abuzz with discussions surrounding Rajeev’s financial disclosures.

The revelation kicked up a storm of speculation and raised many eyebrows across political circles in general and Congress in particular.

A candidate, while filing the affidavit, also has to detail the last five fiscal years’ total income as shown in ITRs. In the case of Rajeev, the last five year’s income were:

  • ₹5,59,200 for 2022-23,
  • ₹680 for 2021-22,
  • ₹17,51,540 for 2020-21,
  • ₹4,48,31,270 for 2019-20, and
  • ₹10,83,97,630 for 2018-19.

As per the affidavit, Rajeev has moveable assets worth ₹13,69,18,637 and immovable assets worth ₹5,26,42,640. He also mentioned liabilities worth ₹19,41,92,894.

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Congress picks 3 ‘errors’

Congress, in particular, seized upon this revelation, accusing Rajeev of attempting to conceal his actual income.

The party raised questions about the transparency and veracity of his financial declarations, alleging that such a drastic reduction in income appeared dubious and warranted closer scrutiny.

According to Congress, the NDA candidate’s affidavit had three major discrepancies that should lead to his disqualification.

The party pointed out that Rajeev mentioned shares and bonds as a liability in the movable assets declaration. It noted that he also declared the value of the shareholding as negative (liability), which amounts to ₹45,73,54,894.

Congress also highlighted the mismatch in movable assets. While in one part it was mentioned as ₹9,25,55,404, in another it was mentioned as ₹13,69,18,637, it said. However, in the case of his spouse, there was no mismatch as it was mentioned as ₹12,47,00,408.

Another discrepancy that the Congress picked was Rajeev’s declaration of his shareholding of Vectra Consultancy Services Private Limited. According to the party, there was no such company as it has been renamed to RC Advisors Private Limited.

The party also alleged that the NDA candidate didn’t declare two of his properties — worth hundreds of crores — in the posh neighbourhood of Koramangala in Bengaluru.

Though South First reached out to Rajeev Chandrasekhar for his comments on the allegations and the ensuing controversy connected with his affidavit, a response is awaited.

The NDA candidate has not commented on the issue in his social media accounts either.

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The complaints

It was Avani Bansal, president of Mahila Sevadal, who first filed a complaint against Rajeev Chandrasekhar alleging that he filed a false affidavit.

The complaint, which was forwarded to the Election Commission of India as well as to Thiruvananthapuram District Collector Geromic George, who is also the District Electoral Officer (DEO), demanded that the affidavit be rejected and Rajeev be disqualified from contesting.

She further alleged that this was not the first time that Rajeev had filed a false affidavit. According to her, he furnished false information in the affidavit during the Rajya Sabha elections.

Following that, two more complaints were filed with the concerned authorities. They alleged that there are missing properties and cars as well as gross undervalue of shares.

However, when it came to the scrutiny of the affidavit, Rajeev Chandrasekhar’s was accepted by the DEO and he was featured among the 13 candidates to be contested from the Thiruvananthapuram constituency.

At the same time, the three fronts — LDF, UDF, and NDA — believe that with the elections looming on the horizon, the outcome of this controversy may well influence the electoral landscape and prove decisive in determining the winner.

(Edited by Arkadev Ghoshal)