Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is the richest among 95 crorepati MLAs in Odisha, a report prepared by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) stated.

However, as per the report published before the 2024 General Election, most of the rich MLAs in the State have liabilities. The report further stated that 65 per cent of MLAs are crorepatis in Odisha and among them, Jharsuguda MLA Dipali Das has the most amount of liabilities. 

The State will go to polls for the Lok Sabha along with the Legislative Assembly between May and June in four phases. The report, released recently, includes an analysis of the affidavits submitted by political leaders.

The report stated that out of 146 MLAs in Odisha, 65 per cent are crorepatis. However, many of the crorepati MLAs have liabilities in comparison to their property and annual income. Though Jharsuguda MLA Dipali Das has occupied the second spot in the list of the richest MLAs in the State, she is the number one MLA in terms of liability.

BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik is the richest among 95 crorepati legislators with assets worth Rs 63 crore. Patnaik is followed by Dipali in the State with assets worth Rs 40 crore. However, Dipali has a liability of Rs 19 crore in her business. Meanwhile, Bhadrak MLA Sanjeeb Mallick stands second. While the net worth of his assets is Rs 19 crore, he has a liability of Rs 7 crore. Mallick is followed by Berhampur MLA Bikram Kumar Panda who has assets worth Rs 8 crore and a liability of Rs 4 crore.

Similarly, Bhubaneswar North MLA Sushant Rout has a total assets amounting to Rs 13 crore and a liability of Rs 4 crore. While Khandapada MLA Soumya Ranjan Patnaik has assets worth Rs 30 crore, he has a liability of Rs 3 crore. Keonjhar MLA Mohan Charan Majhi has an equal amount of assets and liabilities amounting to Rs 1 crore.

“Sixty-five per cent MLAs in Odisha are crorepatis. It is evident from the fact that rich people are representing the public in the Assembly. Now the question mark is are they not taking their allowances? Being rich, what is the need for the MLAs, MPs and Ministers to take their allowances in a poor State,” asked senior journalist Prabhukalyan Mohapatra.

“Those who have liabilities, they have taken loans against assets and business. However, it is not the real truth. They have a visible and invisible income of many times. However, they never reveal about it. They only show their income as per the income tax they give,” said senior journalist Rabi Das.

Meanwhile, as per the ADR report, among the three MLAs with the highest amount of assets, Dipali has the highest amount of yearly income worth Rs 5 crore. Barabati-Cuttack MLA Mohammed Moquim has a total asset worth Rs 17 crore and his annual income is Rs 4 crore. Similarly, Dhenkanal MLA Sudhir Kumar Samal has property worth Rs 14 crore and his income is Rs 1 crore per annum. While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has a total asset amounting to Rs 63 crore, his annual income is only Rs 21 lakh.

“It is a little bit impossible to have nearly equal amounts of assets and liabilities. A prudent businessman will never face such kind of situation. Either it is fabricated or the person has gone bankrupt.” said chartered accountant Pradeep Sahu.