Tezpur (Assam): Moni Kumar Subba, controversial Congress party MP and nominee for the Tezpur parliamentary seat in Assam, is undoubtedly the richest candidate in the state with cash, assets and investments worth more than Rs.600 million (Rs.60 crore).
Subba, fighting to retain the Tezpur seat in northern Assam for the fourth straight term, is also insured for a whopping Rs.1 billion. In his affidavit accompanying his nomination paper, Subba declared investments, including bank balance and cash in hand at about Rs.560 million, more than 95 percent of which are investments in the share market.
Subba and his two wives, Jyoti Limboo and Tilmaya Chong, together possess gold and diamond jewellery worth about Rs.18.5 million. The 51-year-old Subba also possesses land and flats in various parts of India worth about Rs.35 million.
"I am sure to win the polls as people of my constituency love me a lot for the work I did for the overall development of the area," Subba said. "I am the last person to buy votes with money."
Subba, however, is mired in a blazing controversy with the Central Bureau Investigation (CBI) currently probing a case relating to the lawmaker's citizenship. The CBI was investigating the case following a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Birendra Nath Singh, a resident of Noida (Uttar Pradesh), who alleged Subba was a Nepalese citizen and was a murder convict in Nepal.
During the 12th Lok Sabha elections, Subba in his nomination papers recorded his place of birth as Tezpur, Assam, his date of birth being March 16, 1951. But his dossier during the 14th Lok Sabha Subba shows his place of birth as Dabgram (Darjeeling) in West Bengal, and the date of birth as March 16, 1958.
The discrepancies in his date of birth and place of birth while filing his nominations are issues that have created doubts over Subba's antecedents. "All these things are already corrected and there are no anomalies in my records. I am born at Dabgram in 1958 and have been staying in Assam since 1962 after my father shifted to the state," Subba said.
There are reports in the media that alleged Subba alias Mani Raj Limbo was a murder convict in Nepal and he was imprisoned from 1971 to 1973 before he escaped to India.
"Mani Raj Limbo is still alive and in Nepal. The Supreme Court of Nepal in its verdict said Limbo was in jail in Nepal till 1982. So how can Limbo and Subba be the same person...these are all stories concocted by the media," Subba said.
"If I am Limbo then the Nepal government would have easily arrested me by taking the help of the Indian government," he added. The Congress leader said the controversy over his nationality always resurfaces before general elections.
"I don't want controversies but people inimical to me try and drag me into them although these things are indirectly helping me win election after election," Subba said. "If I am a Nepali citizen then why would have the people of Tezpur, who are culturally and intellectually rich, vote me to power for three consecutive terms already?" he asked.