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Unveiling Electoral Bonds: A Step Towards Political Transparency in India!

Electoral Bonds: Latest News, Photos, Videos and Analysis—Indiatoday

In a substantial stride towards openness in political finance, the Election Commission of India has published the statistics of the electoral bonds transferred to it by the State Bank of India. The specifics were unveiled on Thursday, a day preceding the deadline established by the Supreme Court. The statistics pertain to acquisitions of bonds with denominations ranging from ₹ 1,000 to ₹ 1 crore dating back to April 12, 2019, and unveil acquisitions by corporations as well as individuals.

The EC’s portal presents two registers. The first enlists corporations that procured electoral bonds, along with the denomination and dates. The other document documents the names of the political factions, along with the denominations of the bonds and the dates when they were cashed in. Nonetheless, there is no method of linking the registers to ascertain which corporation or individual contributed to which faction.

The entity that made the most significant contribution through this method is Future Gaming and Hotel Services PR, which procured bonds worth ₹ 1,368 crore. Megha Engineering And Infrastructures Limited secured the second position, procuring bonds worth ₹ 966 crore.

At ₹ 410 crore, Qwik Supply Chain Private Limited stood as a distant third, followed by Vedanta Limited at ₹ 400 crore and Haldia Energy Limited at ₹ 377 crore.

Bharti Group ranks sixth, having contributed ₹ 247 crore, followed by Essel Mining And Inds Ltd at ₹ 224 crore. The remaining three in the top 10 contributors are Western UP Power Transmission Company Limited, which contributed ₹ 220 crore, Keventer Foodpark Infra Ltd, which provided ₹ 195 crore, and Madanlal Ltd, which contributed ₹ 185 crore.

The factions that cashed in electoral bonds encompass the BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, AAP, Samajwadi Party, AIADMK, BRS, Shiv Sena, TDP, YSR Congress, DMK, JDS, NCP, JDU, and RJD.

Declaring the release of the data, the electoral body articulated 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 may be recalled that in the aforementioned matter, ECI has consistently and categorically advocated for disclosure and transparency, a stance mirrored in the proceedings of the Hon’ble Supreme Court and acknowledged in the order as well,” it articulated.

Legal practitioner Prashant Bhushan – who represented the Association of Democratic Reforms, one of the petitioners in the electoral bonds lawsuit – highlighted that the serial numbers of the bonds were omitted in the data. This, he asserted, was imperative to discern who contributed, and how much, to which faction. He also contended that the notion of contributions not being anonymous was implicit in the Supreme Court decree.

During a hearing on Monday, a Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud censured the SBI for “willful disobedience of its order” on the data being surrendered to the electoral body by March 6.

The court had instructed the SBI to furnish the data to the Election Commission by Tuesday, cautioning it of contempt proceedings if it failed to do so. The court had also directed the chairman and managing director of the bank to submit an affidavit after compliance with the order had been effected.

SBI, being India’s largest bank, submitted the data on Tuesday and lodged the affidavit in the court the subsequent day. The affidavit indicated that 22,217 electoral bonds were dispensed between April 2019 and February 15, 2024, before the Supreme Court invalidated the scheme following its declaration as unconstitutional and arbitrary.

Listen to the latest songs, only on JioSaavn.com The bank stated that political factions had redeemed 22,030 bonds, while the remaining 187 were redeemed and the funds were deposited in the Prime Minister’s national relief fund, pursuant to the regulations.

The Supreme Court will entertain a petition filed by the Election Commission on the electoral bonds decree on Friday.

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