While Mumbai, Kolkata and Hyderabad saw the sale of most Electoral Bonds (EBs) since they came into existence in he year 2018, a significant majority of these were encashed in New Delhi followed by Hyderabad and Kolkata out of the 20 Indian cities over the entire sale period of their 22 tranches, according to a Right to Information (RTI) response.
In a response to a query filed by transparency activist retired Commodore Lokesh Batra from the State Bank of India (SBI), which is the sole financial entity empowered to both issue and encash these, EBs worth ₹27,42,12,63,000 were sold in Mumbai, ₹23,87,71,90,000 in Kolkata and ₹18,85,35,70,000 in Hyderabad.
The lowest sale of EBs, valued at ₹80,00,000, was recorded at Patna. Since 2018, EBs worth ₹1,07,91,47,51,000 have been sold, according to the reply.
When it came to their encashment, New Delhi led the charge recording the encashment of EBs worth ₹67,48,97,15,000 followed by ₹13,84,03,99,000 in Hyderabad and EBs worth ₹10,12,98,76,000 in Kolkata.
The lowest encashment of EBs, at ₹50,00,000, was recorded in Srinagar and, according to the reply, EBs worth ₹1,07,67,79,10,000 have so far been encashed from 2018 till now.
At 10,108, EBs of the denomination of ₹1 crore accounted for the lion’s share of those being sold across 20 Indian cities followed by 6,562 of ten lakh and 2,610 Bonds of 1 lakh denomination.
Mumbai accounted for the sale of 2,643 EBs of the 1 crore denomination followed by 2,152 at Kolkata and 1,815 at Hyderabad.
When it came to their redemption, however, out of the total number of 19,361 EBs encashed so far, 12,161 were encashed in New Delhi, 2,314 in Hyderabad and 2,302 in Kolkata. As many as 6,331 EBs encashed in the national capital were of the ₹1 crore denomination while 1,300 and 922 of bonds of the 1 crore denomination were encashed in Hyderabad and Kolkata, respectively.
“As of now Electoral Bonds worth nearly ₹10,791.50 crores—of which 93.67% EBs purchased are of one crore denomination each—leaving no doubt that it is big corporate(s) are purchasing electoral bonds for donations to ‘political parties,” Commodore Batra alleged.
“The irony of the EB scheme is that while donors who buy them are not required to pay any service charges or commission to SBI, even the printing cost of EBs is borne by the government and ultimately by the taxpayers; so far, nearly ₹9.53 crore has been paid by for enabling such transactions,” he added.