Electoral Bonds: Future Gaming, Megha Engineering, Qwik Supply, Vedanta, Haldia, Bharti Group, Essel Mining among Top Donors, BJP Encashed Maximum Bonds Worth Rs6,060.51 Crore
Moneylife Digital Team 15 March 2024
The list of donors who donated money to political parties contains some unusual names like Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd, the top buyer of electoral bonds. The lottery company bought electoral bonds (EBs) of Rs1,208 crore. Two other entities linked with Future Gaming also bought additional bonds worth Rs160 crore. As expected, the prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received maximum donations worth Rs6,060.51 crore through electoral bonds, almost half of the total contributions made through EBs which is missing from the data submitted to the election commission of India (ECI).
 
On Thursday, ECI uploaded the data on electoral bonds to its website. The data was published as it was received from the State Bank of India (SBI) on 12th March following an order by the Supreme Court. The first part of the details contains 337 pages sharing the names of the corporate entities that bought electoral bonds and the date of purchase.
 
The data provided by SBI to ECI is April 2019 onwards. However, SBI sold the first tranche of bonds in March 2018, and bonds worth Rs2,500 crore were sold in the first phase.
 
Among the other top-10 donors are: Hyderbad-based Megha Engineering & Infrastructures Ltd (Rs966 crore), Qwik Supply Chain Pvt Ltd (Rs410 crore), Vedanta Ltd (Rs400 crore), Haldia Energy Ltd (Rs377 crore), Bharti Group (Rs247 crore), Essel Mining & Industries Ltd (Rs224 crore), Western UP Power Transmission Company Ltd (Rs220 crore), Keventer Foodpark Infra Ltd (Rs195 crore) and Madanlal Ltd, which bought electoral bonds worth Rs185 crore.
 
Many of the corporate donors who bought electoral bonds are allegedly being probed by government authorities or have received substantial awards or contracts after making the donations. 
 
There are many cases of companies that have donated electoral bonds, and immediately afterwards received huge benefits from the government. For example, Megha Engineering donated over Rs800 crore in electoral bonds. In April 2023, the company donated Rs140 crore and, just one month later, it was awarded the Rs14,400 crore Thane-Borivali Twin Tunnel Project. On 7 October 2022, Jindal Steel & Power gave a Rs25 crore donation through electoral bonds and, three days later, it won the Gare Palma IV/6 coal mine on 10 October 2022.
 
Future Gaming and Hotel Services, the top buyer of electoral bonds, is owned by Santiago Martin, known as the lottery king. It is under the scanner by the directorate of enforcement (ED) for alleged money laundering activities. According to a report from India Today, ED attached assets worth Rs409.92 crore in a money laundering case against the lottery company and its various sub-distributors. Mr Martin allegedly has links with the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
 
The Reddy family-controlled Megha Engineering & Infrastructures (MEIL) holds a majority stake in TV9. In May 2023, citing top officials, Moneycontrol reported that MEIL managed to pip engineering major Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T) and won two separate packages to build the ambitious Thane-Borivali twin tunnel project in Mumbai for a total bid of Rs14,400 crore. 
 
Citing a draft performance audit report on Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) by the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG), a report from Deccan Chronicle says, MEIL was paid an excess of Rs5,188.43 crore in just four packages, involving the supply and commissioning of pumps, motors and auxiliary equipment.
 
Qwik Supply Chain is the third top buyer of electoral bonds worth Rs410 crore. However, according to data from the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA), the company’s entire share capital is just Rs130 crore. Its shareholding pattern, as shared by chartered accountant (CA) Himank Singla on X shows over 16.60% stake owned by Reliance Group Support Services Pvt Ltd. CA Singla did a thread on some corporate entities that bought electoral bonds.  
 
Billionaire Anil Agarwal's Vedanta is a highly debt-ridden and loss-making company. During the December 2023 quarter, it reported a 7% decline in net profit at Rs2,868 crore compared with Rs3,092 crore, in the same period a year ago. Last year, Taiwanese manufacturing heavyweight Foxconn pulled out from its US$19.5bn (billion) joint venture (JV) with Vedanta to manufacture electronic chips. 
 
In July 2023, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) imposed a penalty of Rs30 lakh on the Mr Agarwal-led company for not providing correct disclosures to the media, including misrepresentation on the company's website related to the Foxconn deal of its ultimate holding company.
 
"...all along, Vedanta has been treating the listed company website as the billboard for the promoter company. Admittedly, Vedanta has been issuing the events of its promoters on its website on the listed company (Vedanta's) letterhead. Thus, it appears that Vedanta, being a listed company, is a repeat offender with total disregard for the investors' interest. In fact, Vedanta was providing misleading information to its investors, where the company is not concerned," the SEBI order says. (Read: Vedanta Asked To Pay Rs30 Lakh Penalty for Spreading Misleading Information on VIL's Deal with Foxconn)
 
Other corporate donors to various political parties through electoral bonds include Grasim Industries, Bajaj Auto, Torrent Power, DLF Commercial Developers, Cipla, several entities from the Bajaj group, Apollo Tyres, Lakshmi Mittal (Rs35 crore), Edelweiss Housing Finance Ltd, PVR, Keventer, Sula Wine, Welspun, Sun Pharma, Vardhman Textiles, Utkal Alumina, Cavalier Transporters, Piramal Enterprises Ltd, Muthoot Finance Ltd, Pegasus Properties Pvt Ltd, Finolex Cables Ltd, Jindal Poly Films Ltd, Navayuga Engineering, Orient Fashion, Prime Sales Corporation, ITC Ltd, Shauryavir Carriers Pvt Ltd, Supreme Industries, Ace Commercial Company and many more.
 
Besides Mr Mittal, other individuals who donated through electoral bonds are Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Varun Gupta, BK Goenka, Jainendra Shah and one Monika. 
 
The second part, containing 426 pages, provides the details of the political parties, dates and the amount. Political parties received more than Rs12,769 crore as donations from corporates and individuals through electoral bonds since 2019. 
 
According to the data, political parties encashed 20,421 electoral bonds in the past five years. Of these, 12,207 bonds were of Rs1 crore each, 5,366 bonds (Rs10 lakh each), 2,526 (Rs1 lakh each), 219 bonds (Rs10,000 each) and 103 bonds were of Rs1,000 each.
 
The BJP received a maximum Rs6,060.51 crore as donations through electoral bonds which is almost half of the total amount. The party encashed 5,854 bonds of Rs1 crore each and 1,994 bonds of Rs10 lakh each. Apart from bonds of Rs1 lakh and Rs10,000, it also encashed 31 bonds worth Rs1,000 each.
 
The All India Trinamool Congress secured the second spot and redeemed 3,275 electoral bonds worth Rs1,609.50 crore, of which 1,467 were of Rs1 crore each and 1,384 bonds were of Rs 10 lakh each.
 
As per the data available on ECI's website, the Indian National Congress encashed 3,141 electoral bonds worth Rs1,421.86 crore, which included 1,318 bonds of Rs1 crore each and 958 bonds of Rs10 lakh each.
 
The recipients of funds through electoral bonds include: the BJP, Congress, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), Shiv Sena, Telugu Desam Party (TDP), YSR Congress Party, DMK, Janata Dal Secular (JD-S), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Trinamool Congress, Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Aam Admi Party (AAP), Jan Sena Party and Samajwadi Party (SP).
Comments
amarsanghavi
4 weeks ago
It is the Traffic constable who lets you after you break the traffic laws, by greasing his hands.
Simple. out taffice havaldar Mr Modi, sorry...pradhan Sevak, yeh nki style hai.
khao aur jine do.
rangarao.ds
1 month ago
Now that the cat's out of the bag, the civil society must take it forward to a logical conclusion making the electoral funding by public completely transparent and accountable to all the parties. We can't allow our Republic to be a Banana Republic any more. It's so heartening to note that the Supreme Court has risen to the occasion and continues to be the supreme hope of the hapless millions of people in this country who earnestly long for the rule of law to prevail over the political opportunism.
ajeya
1 month ago
BJP has cashed 50% of the bonds (Yes as expected, it is the biggest party, In fact I expected more). Interesting thing is "Future Gaming" (led by Santiago Martin, a Myanmar Tamil person) has given highest 1300-1400 crore. Future gaming is closely associated with DMK,TMC, CPI. In fact Martin's Son is the election strategist for DMK in 2024 elections, he is that close.
TMC has cashed 1600 crore with just one state, some TMC leaders repeatedly won Lottery (supposedly managed by Future Gaming).
I can only say "Hamam mai sab nange hai".
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