The boom in real estate prices has made many senior ministers including the Prime Minister richer. Manmohan Singh has grown in wealth, if not reputation, even when the country finances are-not-so-rosy. Since last year, he doubled his wealth, thanks to the spiralling prices of real estate. The PM’s declared assets, recently uploaded on the PMO site, shows his immovable assets—a residential house in Chandigarh and another residential apartment in Delhi’s Vasant Kunj—have grown from Rs 1,78,76,000 in March last year to Rs 7,27,00,000. His movable assets too have gained in value, growing from Rs 3,29,09,034 in 2011 to Rs 3,46,61,796 this year.
Land prices have also helped Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to become richer. The value of the land he had purchased in Vidarbha district in Maharashtra in 1993 has gone up to Rs 5.5 lakh. Azad has movable assets worth Rs 62 lakh. His wife Shameed Azad owns a residential house and half acre land worth Rs 55 lakh held as owner by inheritance in Srinagar and one residential flat in Delhi. Union Power Minister Veerappa Moily has total assets to the tune of Rs 30,46,968. His wife Malati Moily has independent source of income from agriculture and is not dependant of Veerappa Moily.
Strangely, real estate doesn’t seem to have helped Finance Minister P Chidambaram, whose wealth marginally nose-dived from Rs 27 lakh to around Rs 25 lakh. This may be because, he did not include the land owned his wife in Chennai’s prime location. In his earlier declarations, the land in Muttukkadu—currently in the eye of a storm—is mentioned as agriculture land held by his wife Nalini, worth Rs 27,41,000. This time, it is not mentioned as farmland and has been valued at Rs 25,84,340.
Predictably, Defence Minister A K Antony is poorest among his ministerial colleagues. With movable assets worth just Rs 2.81 lakh and no immovable property to his name, he’s quite the aam admi.