............'Indian MPs face criminal charges'
A report on the backgrounds of MPs elected this year in India has shown that one in four face criminal charges.
The study by the Bangalore-based Public Affairs Centre says MPs from almost all political parties are involved.
The independent study is based on sworn statements filed earlier this year by the more than 540 MPs before they contested the polls.
The statements were required by a new rule enforced by the Supreme Court to improve transparency in public life.
The report found that the MPs faced charges ranging from murder to extortion and rape.
"It's a shocking indictment of the system that one-fourth of our elected representatives to the highest democratic body have criminal cases against them," Samuel Paul, chairman of the group which has been campaigning for cleaner politics, is quoted as saying by Reuters.
The findings of the report have coincided with another decision of the Indian government which has been criticised by those concerned about probity in public life.
On Wednesday, the Indian cabinet deferred a long pending anti-corruption legislation aimed at bringing the country's top most public officers within the ambit of an ombudsman.
Indian election laws allow politicians facing criminal charges to run for public office, but not those who have been convicted.
(DON'T FORGET, PRESIDENT NIXON CAN BE CHARGED AND MADE TO LEAVE OFFICE. THE PRESIDENT OF LITHUANIA ALSO FACED SUCH FATE RECENTLY.
BUT NOT THE RASCAL/LOAFER RAJIV GANDHI, KNOWN AS BOFORS CHOR, WHO OUGHT TO HAVE BEEN SENTENCED TO EXECUTION BY FIRING SQUAD TWENTY YEARS AGO FOR TAKING BRIBE FROM BOFORS GUN COMPANY OF SWEDEN.
NOT CABINET MINISTER LALOO PRASHAD WHO EVEN "CHEATED THE ANIMALS" BY TAKING COMMISSION ON PURCHASE OF FODDER FOR THEM.