Though the news aggregator has not mentioned a source of its findings, it has put Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, on top of the list with riches worth $40 billion and Sonia Gandhi on the twelfth position owing $2 billion.
Sonia owns two plots of agricultural land summing up to about 15 bighas
According to the website, Gandhi is richer than Albert II, the Prince of Monaco, Qaboos bin Said, the Sultan of Oman, and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea. They are all worth $1 billion. Syria's president Bashar al-Assad is 16th on the list with riches worth $550 million. And Elizabeth II, the Queen of England, ranks 18th in the list with riches worth $400 million to $500 million. The Huffington Post report has compared each country's GDP per capita with a leader's net worth.
Congress spokespersons on Monday cancelled usual press briefings. And it was left to information and broadcasting minister Manish Tiwari to question the credibility of the report. "If you put out these absurd and ridiculous things in print, then you only open yourself to be made a laughing stock," I&B minister Manish Tiwari told the media.
Reacting to the Huffington Post's un-sourced revelations, Tiwari described them "absurd" and "ridiculous". "If Huffington Post would stick to huffing puffing then I think they would do a much better job for themselves. I would not even like to dignify with a response."
Sonia Gandhi's alleged riches and India's GDP show a wide gap, compared to other countries with rich leaders. $2 billion worth Gandhi's party supervises a GDP per capita of just $1500.
Gandhi's riches as revealed by the American website could not be corroborated by any source in New Delhi. The only figures of her riches available are her 2009 affidavit, she had filed along with her Lok Sabha nomination. She has mentioned that she owns neither a car nor a house in India but she has an ancestral home in Italy valued at Rs 18.02 lakh.
Sonia Gandhi's assets, according to the affidavit, totalled Rs1.38 crore, nearly Rs1 crore less than what her son Rahul Gandhi reportedly has. Gandhi's affidavit said that she had Rs75,000 in cash and Rs28.61 lakh in bank deposits.
In addition she had mutual funds worth about Rs20 lakh and Rs12 lakh in RBI bonds. A sum of Rs199,000 was deposited in post offices and Rs24.88 lakh with the Public Provident Fund. Sonia Gandhi's jewellery, weighing about 2.5kg, was valued at Rs11 lakh while 88kg of silver possessed by her was stated to be worth about Rs18 lakh.
She owns two plots of agricultural land totalling up to about 15 bighas and valued at Rs219,000. Their location is not mentioned in the affidavit.