Electoral bonds data | 22 companies donated over ₹100 crore, BJP got highest share

Election Commission publishes data received from SBI; lottery magnate’s firm, which was under ED scanner, is the single largest donor at ₹1,368 cr.

March 14, 2024 08:53 pm | Updated 11:52 pm IST - New Delhi

The Election Commission of India. File

The Election Commission of India. File | Photo Credit: The Hindu

Future Gaming and Hotel Services PR, whose managing director is the well known lottery magnate Santiago Martin, was the single largest donor to political parties between April 12, 2019 and January 24, 2024, according to the electoral bonds data released by the State Bank of India and published by the Election Commission of India on March 14, on the orders of the Supreme Court.

The firm donated a cumulative sum of ₹1,368 crores through electoral bonds during this period. Incidentally, the Enforcement Directorate had attached ₹411 crore in the bank accounts of this firm and other companies in March 2022 and had later filed a prosecution complaint against it under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 before the PMLA Court, Kolkata on September 9, 2023.

Among parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party encashed electoral bonds worth ₹6,060.5 crore — the highest among all parties — within this period. In fact, the BJP’s share of the total bonds encashed by parties was over 47.5%.

The All India Trinamool Congress received ₹1,609.50 crore (12.6%) via this route, followed by the Congress, which received ₹1,421.9 crore (11.1%), the second and third biggest parties in terms of encashment during the period. The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (9.5%), Biju Janata Dal (6.1%), and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (5%) were the other parties which encashed more than ₹500 crore worth of electoral bonds during this period.

Click here for the full list of donors and recipient political parties

₹100 crore club

Overall, 22 donated more than ₹100 crore during this period. Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited, headquartered in Hyderabad, was second on the list, having donated ₹966 crore. The other firms in the top ten donor list for this period were: Qwik Supply Chain Private Limited (₹410 crore), Haldia Energy Limited (₹377 crore), Vedanta Limited (₹375.65 crore), Essel Mining and Industries Limited (₹224.45 crore), Western UP Power Transmission Company Limited (₹220 crore), Bharti Airtel Limited (₹198 crore), and Keventer Foodpark Infra Ltd (₹195 crore).

Other major buyers include: The buyers of electoral bonds include Grasim Industries, Megha Engineering, Piramal Enterprises, Torrent Power, DLF Commercial Developers, Apollo Tyres, Lakshmi Mittal, Edelweiss, PVR, Sula Wine, Welspun, and Sun Pharma.

In total, electoral bonds worth over ₹12,155 crore were purchased by donors in this period and more than ₹12,769 crore were encashed by all parties during the same time.

Bonds’ serial numbers undisclosed

The information was put in the public domain by the ECI on March 14, after SBI disclosed the data on March 12. The Supreme Court had directed the ECI to host this information on its website by March 15, which it did on an “as is where is” basis.

“In compliance of Hon’ble Supreme Court’s directions, contained in its order dated Feb 15 & March 11, 2024 (in the matter of WPC NO.880 of 2017), the State Bank of India (SBI) had provided the data pertaining to the electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on March 12, 2024. 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’,” the ECI said in a statement.

The information uploaded on the ECI website showed that the SBI shared two sets of data: one with the name of the purchaser of each electoral bond, the date of purchase, and the denomination of the bond; and another with the name of the political party, date and denomination of bonds encashed.

The data supplied by SBI does not include the serial numbers of the bonds.

Complying with Supreme Court’s orders

On February 15, the Supreme Court had scrapped the electoral bonds scheme, terming it “unconstitutional”. It had asked the SBI to submit to the ECI all details of the bonds which had been purchased since the interim order of the court was issued on April 12, 2019, till date.

On March 4, the SBI sought additional time till June 30, saying it needed more time to match the buyers of the bonds with the political parties which encashed them. To this, the top court said that the information on purchasers of electoral bonds, the denominations of the bonds, and the bonds redeemed by the respective political parties was easily available and did not need matching.

On March 11, the Supreme Court dismissed a plea filed by the SBI seeking an extension till June 30 for disclosure of the data on electoral bonds. It asked that the data be submitted to the ECI by Tuesday. The poll body was in turn asked to publish the information on its website by 5 p.m. on March 15.

Following this, the SBI submitted the data to the poll body on March 12. In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on March 13, the public sector bank said that 22,217 electoral bonds were issued between April 2019 and February 15, 2024. It said that 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 scheme’s rules.

(With inputs from Sreeparna Chakrabarty in New Delhi)

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