Watch | Electoral bonds: Who were the biggest donors?

Watch | Electoral bonds: Who were the biggest donors?

Overall, donors acquired electoral bonds worth over ₹12,155 crores during the period between April 1st, 2019, and February 15th, 2024, with political parties encashing over ₹12,769 crores in the same duration

March 16, 2024 12:15 pm | Updated March 27, 2024 07:26 pm IST

On March 15th, the Election Commission of India published electoral bonds data it received from State Bank of India .

This comes following a directive from the Supreme Court of India, underscoring the significance of transparency in electoral funding.

On February 15, the Supreme Court declared the electoral bonds scheme as unconstitutional. Their reasoning was that funding to political parties, especially from corporates, cannot be anonymous.

Complete coverage | Making sense of the electoral bonds data

The State Bank of India provided this data to the ECI on March 12th, as per the directive of the Supreme Court, which mandated its publication on the ECI’s website by March 15th.

The data furnished by the SBI is divided into two sets. 

The first set outlines the date of purchase, purchaser’s name, and denomination of each electoral bond bought between April 1st, 2019, and February 15th, 2024. A total of 22,217 bonds were procured during this period.

The second set outlines the date of bond encashment, bond denomination, and the respective political party that redeemed them.  

A sum of 22,030 bonds were cashed by political entities within the same time frame.

So, who were some of the biggest donors who purchased electoral bonds?

Also read: Huge assumption to link ED raids with electoral bond purchases, says Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

According to the data, Future Gaming and Hotel Services PR, led by the prominent figure Santiago Martin, emerged as the most substantial donor to political parties from April 12th, 2019, to January 24th, 2024. The firm contributed a cumulative amount of ₹1,368 crores through electoral bonds during this period. It’s worth noting that the Enforcement Directorate had seized ₹411 crores from the firm’s bank accounts in March 2022 and subsequently filed a prosecution complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002.

Among political parties, the Bharatiya Janata Party topped the list by cashing electoral bonds worth ₹6,060.5 crores, constituting over 47.5% of the total bonds encashed by parties. 

Following closely, the All India Trinamool Congress received ₹1,609.50 crores (12.6%), and the Congress received ₹1,421.9 crores (11.1%), making them the second and third largest beneficiaries, respectively, during the stated period.

Other notable parties included the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (9.5%), Biju Janata Dal (6.1%), and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (5%), each encashing over ₹500 crores worth of electoral bonds during the mentioned period.

Also Read: Electoral bonds data | BJP received ₹6,060 crore, highest among all parties

In total, 22 entities contributed more than ₹100 crores each during this period. Noteworthy among them was Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited, headquartered in Hyderabad, which ranked second by donating ₹966 crores. The top ten donors also included Qwik Supply Chain Private Limited (₹410 crores), Haldia Energy Limited (₹377 crores), Vedanta Limited (₹375.65 crores), Essel Mining and Industries Limited (₹224.45 crores), Western UP Power Transmission Company Limited (₹220 crores), Bharti Airtel Limited (₹198 crores), and Keventer Foodpark Infra Ltd (₹195 crores).

Additionally, major purchasers of electoral bonds included Grasim Industries, Piramal Enterprises, Torrent Power, DLF Commercial Developers, Apollo Tyres, Lakshmi Mittal, Edelweiss, PVR, Sula Wine, Welspun, and Sun Pharma.  

Script and Production: Shikha Kumari A

Voiceover: Sharmada Venkatasubramanian

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