Kolkata: An independent candidate fighting from two Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal has declared assets worth a whopping Rs.2,000 crore, making her one of the richest in the fray in the general election across the country.
However, Shamali Das says her ownership of the vast wealth is only on paper.
In fact, the only assets in her possession is Rs.20,000 in cash and jewellery valued at Rs.40,000.
"Neither the land nor the money is with me apart from the documents," Das told IANS.
The 56-year-old widow and mother of two claims she is the inheritor of the 60 lakh bigha (about 2.4 million acres) estate of Rani Rashmoni, a 19th century zamindar said to have owned large parts of Kolkata and who built the famous Dakhineswar Kali temple after coming in association with the ascetic Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.
The disputed ownership of the estate has seen a prolonged legal battle between various claimants that started in 1937. The government has also taken over a portion of the land.
Das, who is fighting from the Kolkata South and Jadavpur constituencies, says she is the widow of Rani Rashmoni's great-great-grandson Ajoynath Das.
She claimed her legal right has now been upheld.
"I have got back my property, but it is only on paper. I still do not have the possession," she claimed.
The affidavit, however, mentions her annual income as Rs.1,74,240.
Das said she decided to contest the election so that her voice is heard.
"I had formed a political outfit Hindustan Nirman Party which couldn't be registered. So I am contesting as an independent candidate. I just want my voice to be heard."