BJP made ‘bribes’ legal via electoral bonds: Congress

Party accuses the BJP of using electoral bonds in four ‘patterns of corruption’, including ‘prepaid, postpaid, and post-raid bribes’; it reiterates demand for an SC-monitored probe into the scheme

March 23, 2024 08:14 pm | Updated March 24, 2024 08:52 am IST - NEW DELHI

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh addressing the media at AICC, in New Delhi on March 23, 2024.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh addressing the media at AICC, in New Delhi on March 23, 2024. | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Alleging that the electoral bond (EB) scheme ensured that “prepaid, postpaid, and post-raid bribes” could be routed through regular banking channels, the Congress on March 23 reiterated its demand for a Supreme Court-monitored investigation into the scheme.

Addressing a press conference at party headquarters, Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said that an analysis of recently published State Bank of India (SBI) data has revealed that 38 corporate groups received 179 government contracts and projects worth ₹3.8 lakh crore after donating electoral bonds to the BJP.

Using a Python code on the SBI data, the Congress matched donations with the political parties who received them in less than 15 seconds, he said. The Congress leader also shared the Python code at the press conference.

Watch | Electoral bonds: Who were the biggest donors?

“They [the BJP] cannot make minimum support price (MSP) a legal guarantee for farmers but have made bribes a legal affair,” Mr. Ramesh said.

Corruption patterns

He identified four patterns of “blatant corruption” in the electoral bonds scheme: Chanda Do, Dhanda Lo [Pay donation, get business] or prepaid bribes; Theka Lo, Rishvat Do [Bag contracts and pay bribes] or postpaid bribes; Hafta Vasooli [Extortion] or post-raid bribes; and lastly, Farzi companies, or shell companies.

Mr. Ramesh alleged that under the ‘prepaid scheme’, ₹551 crore was given to the BJP in donations; within three months, contracts and projects worth ₹1.32 lakh crores were given to the donors by the Union government and BJP-ruled State governments.

Under the ‘post-paid’ category, the Congress leader alleged that ₹62,000 crore worth of projects were given by the Union government or BJP State governments; within three months of approvals or contracts being signed, ₹580 crore was received via electoral bonds from these companies.

‘Not blaming or naming companies’

However, the Congress did not reveal the names of the companies that were involved in these contracts or which allegedly donated electoral bonds to the BJP. “We are not blaming the companies but pointing out the system,” Mr. Ramesh said, trying to make the point that the Congress understands the importance of the private sector in rasing India’s GDP.

He also alleged that 41 corporate groups have faced a total of 56 raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), or the Income Tax department. These corporate groups have given ₹2,592 crore to the BJP, of which ₹1,853 crore was given after the raids against them.

“The Modi government can patent hafta vasooli [extortion],” Mr. Ramesh said, adding, “We have assembled a complete, verified database of hundreds of contracts, project clearances, ED/IT/CBI raids, and shell companies, all carefully mapped to the database of the BJP’s electoral bond donors.”

Watchlisted shell firms

He also alleged that 16 shell companies donated ₹419 crore to the BJP, out of the ₹543 crore donated by shell companies in total. “These included companies on a Finance Ministry high-risk watch list for money laundering, companies donating crores within months of their formation, and companies donating many multiples of their paid-up share capital,” Mr. Ramesh said.

The Congress leader asserted that if the Opposition INDIA bloc comes to power, “it would get the electoral bond scam investigated by a SIT [Special Investigation Team], and a joint parliamentary committee would be formed over the Adani matter and the PM-CARES Fund”.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.