It is a gross abuse of democracy when representatives of the people amass ill-gotten wealth. However, much as such news troubles all and sundry, few allegations lead finally to convictions. Here is a list of politicians who took an oath to serve the poor public but ended up hoarding for their future generations and, importantly, they got caught and convicted.

Jalgaon Housing Scheme scam

Suresh Jain, Maharashtra

Former housing minister and a Shiv Sena MLA, Jain had a connection with 1997 Jalgaon Housing Scheme scam. He allegedly favored Khandesh builders and later irregularities worth Rs 29 crores were reported.  Social activist Anna Hazare had campaigned against him. Jain was arrested in March 2012 facing criminal charges and spent more than four years in jail. He was released on bail in 2016.

However, ever since, he has made no news, suggesting that the scam has brought an end to his career.

Teachers' recruitment scam

Om Prakash Chautala, Haryana

Charged with corruption in Teachers' recruitment scam, widely known as JBT scam, Haryana’s former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala and his son Ajay Singh Chautala were sentenced for 10 years in prison in 2013. They illegally recruited over 3000 junior basic trained teachers by forging documents. Chautala was serving as the education minister at the time of scam.

The well-known or infamous son of Devi Lal now excites nobody other than his son Abhay Chautala who dreams of seeing his father as the chief minister of Haryana some day again in the future.

Fodder scam and treasury embezzlement

Lalu Prasad Yadav, Bihar

Involved in the fodder scam and embezzlement of about Rs 9.4 billion, Lalu Prasad Yadav of the Rashtriya Janata Dal cannot contest elections. His reign comes to an end after being convicted. Along with him, Lok Sabha MP Jagdish Sharma of Janata Dal (United) has been convicted and disqualified from the parliament for corruption.

While a Supreme Court order now debars convicted politicians like Lalu Yadav from contesting in elections, he might derive vicarious pleasure from the possible success of his sons Tejashvi and Tej Pratap in Bihar politics, as the RJD still attracts votes in large numbers.

Disproportionate assets

Babanrao Gholap, Maharashtra

Senior Shiv Sena MLA and former Maharashtra minister for social welfare, Gholap was found guilty in disproportionate assets case along with his wife Shashikala. He had amassed huge wealth, much more than his known sources. Both were convicted for 3-year rigorous imprisonment and he is disqualified from Maharashtra assembly for corruption.

News headlines have eluded Gholap since 2014.

Sting operation

Bangaru Laxman, Andhra Pradesh

Arguably the case with the maximum recall value, the former BJP president was convicted of corruption under the Prevention of Corruption Act for misusing his office and for attempting to influence officials in arms deal scandal. In 2001, a sting ‘Operation Westend’ was carried out by Tehelka[dot]com in which Laxman was filmed accepting a bribe from a fake arms dealer to push the sale of defense equipment to the Indian army. He was sentenced to 4-years rigorous imprisonment in prison.

On 1 March 2014, Laxman died a sad man, dejected by the fact that he was framed by a group of stingers even though he had no prior record of dubious conduct. Even in the tape that brought ignominy to his character, he was heard saying repeatedly that he had no power to influence any defence deal, but the 'donors' could donate to his party voluntarily if they wanted to.

Commonwealth Games scam

Suresh Kalmadi, Maharashtra

The former Congress MP and president of Indian Olympic Association is facing criminal and corruption charges in the 2010 Commonwealth Games held in New Delhi. He served as the Chairman of the organising committee. Kalmadi was arrested in 2014 for the scam worth Rs 90 crores -- out of the alleged extravaganza of Rs 70,000 crore -- but was suspended from his party after his arrest. He was jailed for 10 months but was later released on bail.

Kalmadi was mocked at even before the breaking out of the scandal for his 'party hopping'. When last heard, no party was contemplating bringing him to their fold.


Kuldeep Singh Sengar, Uttar Pradesh

Sengar is a BJP MLA who is an accused in the Unnao gang rape and murder case. He allegedly raped a teenager girl and killed her father in June a year ago. The girl alleged that she has been trying to lodge a complaint since August 2017 and police had refused to register her case. She attempted suicide in front of CM Yogi Adityanath’s house in April which made a lot of headlines. CBI is investigating the matter and Sengar is sent to Sitapur jail. His plea for bail was denied and the next hearing is on 20 July.

It is very unlikely that the fate of Sengar will take a positive turn, regardless of the outcome of his trial, so vilified has he been on media not only as an alleged rapist but as a dreaded hoodlum of Unnao who has also been in the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Samajwadi Party in the past.

Fake degree

Jitender Singh Tomar, Delhi

The former Delhi law minister and AAP MLA is facing prosecution because of allegedly submitting fake degree certificate while filing his nomination in 2015. His law degree was cancelled by Bhagalpur University. He was arrested in June 2015 after which he was forced to resign from his position as the law minister thus, putting an end to his political career.  

Although tried by the media, his 'conviction' now seems irreversible as he has been defamed beyond repair. There is little possibility of a revival of his career in politics.

Featuring in pornography

Sandeep Kumar, Delhi

The former women and child welfare minister and AAP MLA was sacked after an objectionable sex videotape of him surfaced.  Kumar was arrested after the woman featured in the said tape accused him of sexual harassment and lodged a complaint. He was granted bail in 2016. Recently, he was seen campaigning for BJP before MCD polls.

The nature of the alleged crime Kumar was involved in makes it highly unlikely that he will ever be able to stage a comeback in Indian politics.

Ponzi scandals

Madan Mitra, West Bengal

TMC leader and former transport and sports minister was arrested in 2014 for his alleged involvement in the Rs 2460 crore Saradha Ponzi scam. After several pleas, Mitra was granted bail in 2016. Later, he was probed by CBI in connection with Narada Tapes scam as well.

Once considered a trusted aide of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Mitra is no longer missed in Bengal politics.

Tapas Pal, West Bengal

The film actor and TMC MP was convicted for his involvement in the multi-crore Rose Valley Ponzi scheme in December 2016. He was a director of the film division of the Rose Valley Group. The group was under radar for two years.

Currently, Pal is out on bail, but making no political noise.

NPA banking crisis

Vijay Mallya, Karnataka

Among the most prominent of defaulters who have cost the banks of the country a humongous non-performing assets crisis, the former nominated Rajya Sabha MP had to resign in 2016 following the breaking of the bank default story. He owned Kingfisher Airlines that became insolvent and was shut down. Mallya incurred huge losses. In April 2017, he was arrested by the United Kingdom police on behalf of Indian authorities on charges of fraud. Since then Mallya is on bail.

Mallya's claim to fame or infamy owes to his flamboyant lifestyle, which still does not go down well with the people who largely view politicians through Gandhian lenses of compulsive austerity.

This list is in no way exhaustive. Every day, we witness some additions to it. Some are roaming free because of lack of evidence; some are still in power contesting and winning elections while some easily walk out of the jail. This leaves one pondering whether corruption in the country has a veritable antidote.