Amaravati: Politician Nara Lokesh says a reported quantum leap in his fortune is being widely misunderstood and distorted. The Stanford graduate's father, Chandrababu Naidu, is the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, which has brought special scrutiny to his declared assets.
- Lokesh Nara, 34, is Stanford graduate, Chief Minister's son
- Declared wealth moves in 6 months from 14.5 to 330 crores
- Earlier, I gave acquisition cost and not market value of shares, he says
In October, the 34-year-old, who is expected to join his father's cabinet soon, said his main assets included shares in the family-owned Heritage Foods, a conglomerate. He disclosed his assets voluntarily in compliance with the Chief Minister's initiative of revealing his family wealth publicly for transparency.
Now, Nara Lokesh is running for election to the Legislative Council or Upper House of the legislature - a precursor to becoming a minister, say sources.
His declared wealth is tallied at more than 300 crores in papers filed with the Election Commission.
So how did five months result in such giant dividends? They didn't, says Nara Lokesh.
A large part of his wealth lies in his shares in Heritage Foods, which has interests in agriculture and dairy and runs bakeries, and which sold its retail business in November to Kishore Biyani's retail chain, which includes Big Bazaar supermarts. In October, he said they were worth about 2.5 crores. Now, in his election papers, he says they're worth 273 crores.
His office says that's because he first listed the price at which he acquired them, and now, in keeping with the Election Commission's rules, he's shown their market value. If he had done that in the first place, the value of the shares would have increased by a far more modest margin - 215 to 273 crores. Still, not so bad for a five-month return.
"The holding of Sri Nara Lokesh has been constant for over a decade (not a single share sold or purchased) and hence we gave the original investment made in getting the shares" in October, his office said.
"The so-called 23-time jump (in wealth) is the difference between the acquisition value, which is what I shared in the voluntary disclosure, and the market value on that day, which is a requirement of the Election Commission," Nara Lokesh told NDTV.