The data reveals purchases by companies as well as individuals.

New Delhi: 

In a big move towards transparency in political funding, the Election Commission of India has uploaded the data of the electoral bonds given to it by the State Bank of India. The details have been uploaded on Thursday, a day before the deadline set by the Supreme Court. 

The data pertains to purchases of bonds of three denominations – ₹ 1 lakh, ₹ 10 lakh and ₹ 1 crore – dating back to April 12, 2019, and reveals purchases by companies as well as individuals.  

The EC’s website has two lists. The first is of companies that purchased electoral bonds, along with the denomination and dates. The other has names of the political parties as well as the denominations of the bonds and the dates on which they were encashed. There is, however, no way of correlating the lists and finding out which company or individual had donated to which party. 

The company that contributed the most through the method is Future Gaming and Hotel Services PR, which bought bonds worth ₹ 1,368 crore. Megha Engineering And Infrastructures Limited was second, purchasing bonds worth ₹ 966 crore. 

At ₹ 410 crore, Qwik Supply Chain Private Limited was a distant third, followed by Vedanta Limited at ₹ 400 crore and Haldia Energy Limited at ₹ 377 crore.

Bharti Group is sixth, having donated ₹ 247 crore, followed by Essel Mining And Inds Ltd at 224 crore. The remaining three in the list of top 10 donors were Western UP Power Transmission Company Limited, which contributed ₹ 220 crore, Keventer Foodpark Infra Ltd, which gave 195 crore, and Madanlal Ltd at ₹ 185 crore.

The parties that encashed electoral bonds include the BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, AAP, Samajwadi Party, AIADMK, BRS, Shiv Sena, TDP, YSR Congress, DMK, JDS, NCP, JDU and RJD.

Announcing that it has released the data, the poll body said in a statement, “The Election Commission of India has today uploaded the data on electoral bonds on its website as received from SBI on ‘as is where is basis'”. 

“It may be recalled that in the said matter, ECI has consistently and categorically weighed in favour of disclosure and transparency, a position reflected in the proceedings of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and noted in the order also,” it said. 

Advocate Prashant Bhushan – who had appeared for the Association of Democratic Reforms, one of the petitioners in the electoral bonds case – pointed out that the serial numbers of the bonds were not mentioned in the data. This, he said, was necessary to figure out who donated, and how much, to which party. He also claimed that contributions not being anonymous was implicit in the Supreme Court order.

“The Info of #ElectoralBonds uploaded by EC (which they say is as recd from SBI), does not give the serial number of the bonds, which is necessary for finding who gave bond to whom. This was implicit in SC Jt. SBI affidavit said this info is recorded though in separate silos,” Mr Bhushan posted on X.

Supreme Court’s Warning

During a hearing on Monday, a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud had come down heavily on the SBI for “wilful disobedience of its order” on the data being handed over to the poll body by March 6. 

The court had ordered the SBI to submit the data to the Election Commission by Tuesday, warning it of contempt proceedings if it failed to do so. The court had also directed the chairman and managing director of the bank to file an affidavit after the order had been complied with.

SBI, which is India’s largest bank, had submitted the data on Tuesday and submitted the affidavit to the court the day after that. The affidavit stated that 22,217 electoral bonds were issued between April 2019 and February 15, 2024, before the Supreme Court struck down the scheme after declaring it unconstitutional and arbitrary.

The bank said political parties had redeemed 22,030 bonds while the remaining 187 were redeemed and the money was deposited in the Prime Minister’s national relief fund, in accordance with the rules.

Source : ndtv

Electoral Bonds Data From SBI Uploaded On Election Commission Website

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