A third of new ministers in India charged with crimes

Seven of 21 new ministers appointed by PM Narendra Modi to the cabinet recently, face prosecution, taking the total in the 66-member cabinet to almost one third, a higher proportion than before the recent expansion. At least five people in the cabinet have been charged with serious offences such as rape and rioting. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said any suggestions there were criminals in the cabinet were completely baseless. He said the cases cited arise out of criminal accusations, not cases of crime and said Modi had personally vetted the new ministers. The Association for Democratic reforms said including these people in the cabinet is a bad omen for India's democracy. One example is Amit Shah who leads the BJP and is the closest aide of Modi. He is accused of ordering police to carry out three extra-judicial killings and running an extortion racket when he served under Modi as home minister in Gujarat almost a decade ago. He has denied the charges and is facing a trial in Mumbai.