Electoral Bond Data Reveals Major Donors and Political Party Recipients

Electoral Bond Data Reveals Major Donors and Political Party Recipients: Election Commission Releases Comprehensive List
Electoral Bond Data Reveals Major Donors and Political Party Recipients
Electoral Bond Data Reveals Major Donors and Political Party RecipientsRepresentative Image

In compliance with a deadline mandated by the Supreme Court, the Election Commission has released comprehensive data on electoral bonds, sourced from the State Bank of India (SBI), on its official website. The disclosed information unveils a roster of notable purchasers, encompassing prominent industrialists and corporate entities such as Lakshmi Mittal, Sunil Bharti Mittal of Airtel, Vedanta, ITC, and Mahindra and Mahindra.

Of particular interest is the emergence of Future Gaming and Hotel Services, a lesser-known entity currently under investigation by the Enforcement Directorate, as a significant buyer with an investment exceeding Rs 1,350 crore in electoral bonds.

Among the recognized corporate players, Vedanta Ltd, led by Agarwal, acquired electoral bonds worth Rs 398 crore, while Sunil Mittal's conglomerate, comprising three companies, collectively purchased bonds amounting to Rs 246 crore. Additionally, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, the steel magnate, personally invested Rs 35 crore in electoral bonds.

Megha Engineering, headquartered in Hyderabad and acclaimed for securing contracts for numerous large-scale infrastructure projects, procured bonds worth a staggering Rs 966 crore.

The spectrum of political parties redeeming electoral bonds is wide-ranging and includes the BJP, Congress, AIADMK, Shiv Sena, TDP, YSR Congress, DMK, JD-S, NCP, Trinamool Congress, JDU, RJD, AAP, the Samajwadi Party, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, BJD, Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, JMM, Sikkim Democratic Front, and the Jana Sena Party.

This release of data underscores the Election Commission's commitment to transparency and accountability in political financing, aligning with the directives set forth by the highest court in the land. The information provided sheds light on the intricacies of electoral bond transactions, revealing insights into the nexus between corporate interests and political funding in India.

Key Details of Electoral Bond Purchases

Prominent Buyers:

· Steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal bought bonds worth Rs 35 crore.

· Vedanta Ltd purchased bonds worth Rs 398 crore.

· Bharti Airtel's three firms made substantial contributions with bonds worth Rs 246 crore.

· Future Gaming and Hotel Services emerged as a significant buyer with bonds worth over Rs 1,350 crore.

· Total Donors: There were a total of 213 donors who purchased electoral bonds worth over Rs 10 crore.

Individual Contributions:

· Megha Engineering, involved in major infrastructure projects, bought bonds worth Rs 966 crore.

· Political Party Beneficiaries:

· Political donations through these bonds were primarily issued in the names of political parties or their leaders, notably to the Congress and the Samajwadi Party.

· Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: Donated through electoral bonds.

· Varun Gupta: Donated through electoral bonds.

· B K Goenka: Donated through electoral bonds.

· Jainendra Shah: Donated through electoral bonds.

· Monika (First Name Only): Donated through electoral bonds.

Corporate Buyers:

· Additional corporate purchasers included Spicejet, IndiGo, Grasim Industries, Megha Engineering, Piramal Enterprises, Torrent Power, Bharti Airtel, DLF Commercial Developers, Vedanta Ltd., Apollo Tyres, Edelweiss, PVR, Keventer, Sula Wines, Welspun, Sun Pharma, Vardhman Textiles, Jindal Group, Phillips Carbon Black Limited, CEAT tyres, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, ITC, Kaypee Enterprises, Cipla, and Ultratech Cement, reflecting a wide participation from various sectors.

· Yashoda Super Speciality Hospital: Based in Ghaziabad, purchased 162 bonds, mostly of Rs 1 crore each.

· Bajaj Auto: Bought bonds worth Rs 18 crore.

· Bajaj Finance: Bought bonds worth Rs 20 crore.

· IndiGo Firms: Three firms purchased bonds worth Rs 36 crore.

· Spicejet: Purchased bonds worth Rs 65 lakh.

· Rahul Bhatia of IndiGo: Bought bonds worth Rs 20 crore.

· Qwik Supply Chain Pvt Ltd (Mumbai-based): Bought bonds worth Rs 410 crore.

· Haldia Energy: Bought bonds worth Rs 377 crore. 

According to the State Bank of India (SBI), a total of 22,217 electoral bonds were purchased from April 1, 2019, to February 15, 2024, with the majority being utilized by political parties upon redemption.

Transparency and Accountability in Political Funding

The Supreme Court previously mandated the State Bank of India (SBI) to share extensive information with the Election Commission, ensuring transparency and accountability in political funding. Apart from purchaser details, the SBI has also provided the EC with data on the encashment dates of electoral bonds and the names of the political parties that received the donations.

"In compliance of Supreme Court's directions, contained in its order dated February 15 and 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 said in a statement.

"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," it added.

"It may be recalled that in the said matter, ECI has consistently and categorically weighed in favour of disclosure and transparency, a position reflected in the proceedings of the Hon'ble Supreme Court and noted in the order also," EC said.

According to an earlier report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), electoral bonds worth Rs 16,518 crore have been sold from March 2018 to January 2024.

The BJP received the highest contributions through the electoral bonds amounting to Rs 6,566 crore or 54.77 per cent, followed by the Congress with Rs 1,123 crore or 9.37 per cent, Trinamool Congress Rs 1,092 crore or 9.11 per cent, it had said.

This move is aimed at enhancing the transparency of political contributions and ensuring that the funds are traceable and accounted for.

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