Electoral bond funds: BJP tops the list. Who owns the money that the ED, IT took from the institution raids?

A Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Chandrachud last month ruled that electoral bonds are illegal and banks should immediately stop issuing electoral bonds.

Further, in the judgment, it was also informed that the SBI should provide the details of electoral bonds distributed from 2019 onwards by March 6. The order also said that the Election Commission of India should publish this information on its website.

SBI had sought time in the Supreme Court till June 30, saying it would take time to verify and integrate the data. The Supreme Court strongly condemned the request of the bank and dismissed the petition. Further, it directed to submit the details of the electoral bonds by March 12 and directed the Election Commission to publish the information by March 15. In this case, the Election Commission of India published the list on its official website yesterday (March 14).

In the name of the Supreme Court order, the State Bank of India has published two lists. The first list contains the names of the companies that bought the electoral bonds and the second list contains the names of the political parties that deposited the electoral bonds in the bank. Both are given as separate information. It is noteworthy that the details of which company (Purchaser) donated to which company were not included.

Also, in the document filed by SBI Bank, it has stated that a total of 22,217 electoral bonds have been issued from last April 2019 to 15 February 2024, out of which 22,030 electoral bonds have been credited to the accounts of political parties. The remaining 187 bonds have been credited to the Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund account, the SBI said.

What is an electoral bond?

An electoral bond is an instrument used to finance a political party. In India, an individual or a company can fund political parties without disclosing their identity through electoral bonds.

Which parties are eligible for electoral bonds?

A political party registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 (43 of 1951) and a political party that secured not less than 1% of the votes polled in the previous parliamentary election or assembly election are eligible to receive funds through an electoral bond.

When did the electoral bond come?

Electoral Bonds came into effect through the Finance Bill, 2017 in the Budget 2017-18. For this, several amendments came into force in the Acts including the Representation of the People Act 1951, Companies Act 1956, and Income Tax Act 1961. Electoral bonds were sold for the first time in March 2018.

These electoral bonds are planned to be available only in certain branches of the State Bank of India (SBI) in multiples of Rs, 1,000, Rs, 10,000, Rs, 1,00,000, Rs, 10,00,000 and Rs, 1,00,00,000 were sold. A person or company can buy any number of bonds in these amounts. But the validity of the electoral bonds thus issued is only 15 days. By then the political parties have to encash them within a stipulated time.

Which party has received the most money through electoral bonds?

The details of the amount and date received by the political parties through the electoral bonds are contained in the data released by the Election Commission. Accordingly, the financial details given to parties including BJP, Trinamool Congress, Congress, DMK, and AIADMK can be seen in the table below.

Bharatiya Janata Party tops the list as the most funded party. From April 12, 2019, to January 24, 2024, the Bharatiya Janata Party has received electoral bonds worth ₹6060 crore. BJP’s share of total bonds is 47.5%. It is followed by parties like Trinamool Congress (₹1,609 crore) and Congress (₹1,421 crore).

Bharat Rashtra Samithi, Biju Janata Dal, and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam are fourth, fifth, and sixth respectively as the parties that have cashed more than ₹500 crore in electoral bonds.

ED Raid Actions vs Electoral Bonds:

The list of those who bought electoral bonds includes names of companies like Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd, Megha Engineering, Bharti Airtel, Vedanta, Muthoot, Bajaj, Piramal Enterprises, Apollo Tires, PVR etc.

According to these sources, electoral bonds worth a total of ₹12,155.51 crore have been purchased by nearly 1,300 companies in five years. Of this, Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd bought electoral bonds worth ₹1,368 crore between October 2020 and January 2024 alone. The founder of the company is Santiago Martin. It is noted that its registered office is in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.

Similarly, Vedanta Limited has bought electoral bonds worth Rs.402 crore. Megha Engineering has bought electoral bonds worth Rs 966 crore, Bharti Airtel’s three companies have bought bonds worth Rs 246 crore, Qwik Supply Chain Pvt Ltd Rs. 410 crore worth of bonds, and Haldia Energy has bought and funded bonds worth Rs.377 crore.

Moreover, 14 of the top 30 companies that purchased electoral bonds have been the target of raids and actions by the ED, CBI, and IT. Among them are the names of companies like Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd, Megha Engineering, Vedanta Ltd, Yashoda Super Specialty Hospital, DLF Commercial Developers Ltd, Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, Aurobindo Pharma.

LINKS:

Disclosure of Electoral Bonds

Electoral Bonds Case: 22,217 bonds were purchased of which 22,030 redeemed

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Indu Meenakshi

Indu Meenakshi is a former Microbiologist-turned-journalist, works as a Sub-Editor at YouTurn. She additionally holds Master’s in Management and English Literature. As a fact-checker, her job entails actively dispelling false information found online, exposing fake news, and raising public awareness.
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