All the major parties contesting the forthcoming elections in West Bengal have fielded candidates with criminal cases pending against them.
Of the 253 candidates scrutinised by the West Bengal Election Watch so far, 49 are facing criminal charges.
As many as 27 candidates have serious charges pending including murder, attempt to murder, theft and extortion.
Ten Congress candidates face criminal charges. Both Communist Party of India-Marxist and Bharatiya Janata Party have filed 8 such candidates and the Socialist Unity Centre of India has five candidates facing criminal charges. The Trinamool Congress has relatively less number of such candidates -- 4.
The report also states that there are nine crorepati candidates in the fray with the richest one being worth Rs 2 crore. As many as 143 candidates have declared that they have never filed income tax returns.
Congress leader Krishnendu Narayan Choudhury from the English Bazar constituency, with six cases, faces the maximum number of criminal cases.
Forward Bloc leader Ali Imran Ramz is facing three criminal cases while his fellow party leader Udayan Guha is also facing an equal number of cases.
BJP leader Prafulla Chandra Sarkar and Revolutionary Socialist Party leader Abdur Rehman Boxi have two cases each pending against them.
The richest candidate contesting in the first phase of Bengal polls is Congress leader Sukhi Bilas Barma, who owns assets worth Rs 2 crore.
Congress leader Sankar Malakar owns assets worth Rs 2 crore. Samajwadi Party leader Kiranmoy Nanda, Forward Bloc leader Udaya N Guha and Congress leader Subas own assets worth Rs 1 crore.
Interestingly, BJP leader Asif Sarkar has no assets while SUCI leader Mukthar Ahmed owns assets worth only Rs 500.