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3 main contenders of Udhampur seat in J-K crorepatis: Poll affidavits

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Kathua, Mar 29 (PTI) The three main contenders of the Udhampur Lok Sabha constituency in Jammu and Kashmir going to the polls on April 19 are crorepatis, according to their election affidavits submitted to the Election Commission.

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Choudhary Lal Singh, who recently rejoined the Congress and is contesting his fourth Lok Sabha election from the seat, has recorded a multi-fold increase in his wealth over the past one-and-a-half decades, according to his poll affidavits.

He and his wife, former legislator Kanta Andotra, have shown movable and immovable properties worth Rs 1.79 crore and Rs 1.76 crore respectively in their affidavit in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls, as compared to their properties worth Rs 7.27 lakh and Rs 10.62 lakh in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls respectively, data in their affidavits revealed.

Choudhary Lal Singh, 65, who is being probed in a money laundering case by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), filed his nomination papers, including the mandatory affidavit, from the Udhampur-Kathua Lok Sabha constituency on Wednesday.

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He won the Udhampur seat twice on Congress ticket in 2004 and 2009, besides being a three-time former MLA. He switched from the Congress to the BJP in 2014 and was also a minister in the previous PDP-BJP government in Jammu and Kashmir that collapsed in June 2018 after the national party pulled out of the alliance.

Several months before the government’s fall, Choudhary Lal Singh resigned from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and floated his own outfit following an uproar over his participation in a rally in support of the accused in a rape-and-murder case of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in January 2018.

However, he defended his participation in the rally, stating that he was there to "defuse the situation".

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On November 7 last year, Choudhary Lal Singh was arrested by the ED in connection with a money laundering case against an educational trust run by his wife. However, he was released on bail three weeks later.

In his latest affidavit, Choudhary Lal Singh put the value of his movable assets at Rs 26,53,027 and immovable assets at Rs 1.53 crore. His wife's movable assets are valued at Rs 76.60 lakh and immovable assets at Rs 1 crore in 2024.

In 2009, he had declared his movable assets of Rs 2,27,378 and immovable assets of Rs 5 lakh, while his wife's immovable and movable assets were declared at Rs 5,62,000 and Rs 5 lakh respectively.

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The latest wealth included Rs 45,000 cash in his hand and Rs 40,000 cash with his wife, three bank accounts each for self and his wife having over Rs 11.63 lakh and over Rs 25.40 lakh respectively.The assets also included a residential house in Marheen in the name of his wife and non-agriculture land in Basholi.

Besides the husband and wife own 150 grams and 600 grams of gold worth Rs 9.45 lakh and Rs 10 lakh respectively.

According to the latest affidavit, the income tax returns of Choudhary Lal Singh filed for the last five financial years are pegged at Rs 4,55,870 in 2022-23, Rs 1,50,000 in 2021-22, Rs 4,75,000 in 2020-21, Rs 3,47,500 in 2019-20 and Rs 20,91,486 in 2018-19. His wife has also filed her income tax returns ranging between Rs 6 lakh and Rs 27 lakh during the same period.

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The Congress candidate has a liability of Rs 20.34 lakh, including Rs 15.34 lakh loan from UCO bank, while his wife has a liability of a loan of Rs 5 lakh from the Jammu and Kashmir assembly, which they are yet to pay.

According to the affidavit, the CBI has filed a charge sheet against Choudhary Lal Singh in the R B Education trust which was subsequently converted into a case of money laundering by the ED in 2022.

Besides him, there are two more crorepatis, including Union minister Jitendra Singh of the BJP and G M Saroori of the Ghulam Nabi Azad-led Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) in the fray.

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Jitendra Singh, who won from the Udhampur seat in the 2014 and 2019 polls, has put the value of his movable assets at Rs 3.33 crore and immovable assets at Rs 3.71 crore. His wife Manju Singh's movable assets are pegged at Rs 88.88 lakh and immovable assets at Rs 66 lakh.

Saroori of DPAP has movable assets worth Rs 4,446,542 and Rs 1,11,560 in cash. He does not have any jewellery.

His wife has movable assets worth Rs 2,828,247, including 500 grams of gold amounting to Rs 2,671,000 and Rs 151,500 cash. Saroori has immovable assets worth Rs 51,924,450, while his wife has immovable assets of Rs 8,407,755.

The nominations of 12 candidates, including independents, have been found valid. PTI AB AB KSS KSS

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