How a legal loophole allows BJP MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar to hide his full wealth from election panel

On March 12, 2018, as a part of his Rajya Sabha application as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate, Rajeev Chandrasekhar submitted an intriguing affidavit listing his assets and sources of wealth to the Election Commission. The affidavit, a mandatory requirement for electoral aspirants, pegged the businessman-turned-politician’s annual income at Rs 28 crore and valued his family assets at Rs 65 crore.

According to the affidavit, Chandrasekhar held equity shares in six unlisted companies: Vectra Consultancy Services, SPL Infotech PTE, Jupiter Global Infrastructure, Minsk Developers, RC Stocks & Securities and Sanguine New Media.

Missing from the affidavit, however, was Jupiter Capital, the largest company controlled by Chandrasekhar.

Described on its website as an investment and financial services firm, it was set up by Chandrasekhar in 2005. In its first year, the company had four subsidiaries and an income of Rs 15.08 crore. Since then, it has grown rapidly. The company’s 2018 filings with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs report 58 subsidiaries – among them, media companies like Suvarna News, Asianet, Indigo 91.9 FM and Republic; technology firm Axiscades and defence firm Indian Aero Ventures.

Spanning technology, aerospace, media, music, entertainment, hospitality and infrastructure, Jupiter Capital’s subsidaries account for most of Chandrasekhar’s business activities and earnings. The company manages, as its website says, a portfolio of investments estimated at over $1 billion (Rs 7,100 crore). In March, 2018, it reported a consolidated gross income of Rs 1,026 crore.

In contrast, the companies listed by Chandrasekhar in his affidavit are much smaller.

And therein lies a tale. Do read.