Electoral Bonds: Over Rs623 Crore Donations are from Unknown Sources; Rs466 crore Went to BJP
Moneylife Digital Team 22 March 2024
In the latest development concerning the electoral bonds case, the State Bank of India (SBI) has submitted 'unique alpha-numeric' details to the Election Commission of India (ECI). The data comes in two sets: electoral bonds purchased and those redeemed between 2019 and January 2024. Total donations to all political parties come to over Rs12,769 crore. From this data, one can glean which parties got how much from whom and which were the largest donors. 
 
The top five parties included in redeeming electoral bonds are BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party), TMC (All India Trinamool Congress-AITC), Congress (Indian National Congress-INC), BRS (Bharath Rashtra Samithi) and BJD (Biju Janata Dal). If the top five and top 10 donors of political parties are analysed, then some interesting data will appear.
 
Unknown Donors: The most curious aspect of the data is the large number of redemptions to almost all political parties from unknown sources, identified in the SBI document as NA (not available). The total donations from such unknown sources was over Rs623 crore. Of this, Rs466 crore went to the BJP. Since the bonds could not be purchased without a stringent identification process, it is mystifying that SBI does not know who bought hundreds of crores of bonds. Separately, there is a big mismatch between the total bonds purchased and redeemed, which is around Rs613 crore. 
 
 
Bhartiya Janata Party: BJP was found to have a lower concentration, with the top 5 donors contributing 28% of its donations. BJP's highest donations were from Megha Engineering and Infrastructure (Rs584 crore), Qwik Supply Chain Pvt Ltd controlled by the Reliance group (Rs375 crore), Vedanta (Rs230.2 crore), Bharti Airtel group (Rs247 crore) and Madanlal Ltd (Rs175.5 crore) while all other donors together contributed Rs4,032.2 crore. In all, BJP received over Rs6,060 crores.
 
All India Trinamool Congress: AITC's donations were highly concentrated. Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd donated around one-third at Rs542 crore of the total contributions of Rs1,610 crore received by the party through electoral bonds. The other donors in the top five were Haldia Energy (Rs281 crore), Dhariwal Infrastructure Ltd (Rs90 crore), MKJ Infrastructure Ltd (Rs45.9 crore), Avees Trading and Finance (Rs45.5 crore). AITC redeemed bonds worth over Rs1,609 crore.
 
Indian National Congress: INC, the third largest receiver of donations, received its highest donation from Vedanta (Rs125 crore). The other contributions were from Western UP Power Transmission Co Ltd (Rs110 crore), MKJ Enterprises (Rs91.6 crore), Yashoda Super Specialty Hospital (Rs64 crore) and Avees Trading and Finance (Rs53 crore). Others donated a total sum of Rs907.5 crore. In all, Congress got donations worth over Rs1,421 crore.
 
Bharat Rashtra Samithi: The highest donor for BJP was also the highest donor of BRS, i.e. Megha Engineering and Infrastructure (Rs195 crore). The other top five donors are Yashoda Super Specialty (Rs94 crore), Chennai Greenwoods Pvt Ltd (Rs50 crore), Dr Reddy's Laboratory (Rs32 crore), Hetero Drugs (Rs30 crore), while other donors contributed around Rs790 crore. BRS received total donations of over Rs1,214 crore. 
 
Biju Janata Dal: For BJD, Essel Mining and Inds Ltd was the highest donor, with a donation of Rs174.5 crore. Jindal Steel and Power Ltd was the second highest donor, with a donation of Rs 100 crore. The other donors in the top five include Utkal Alumina International (Rs70 crore), Rungta Sonsp Ltd (Rs50 crore) and Mssn Mohanty (Rs45 crore). The other donors contributed Rs336 crore. Total donations to BJD were over Rs775 crore.
 
Dravidra Munnetra Kazhagam: For DMK, the donation contribution was highly concentrated on one donor, i.e., Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd, which was Rs503 crore. Megha Engineering and Infra was the second-highest donor with Rs85 crore. Other donors in the top five made comparatively small donations of Rs8 crore (West Well Gases Pvt Ltd), Rs7 crore (Askus Logistics Pvt Ltd), Rs5 crore (Fertilel and Foods Pvt Ltd). The other donors together contributed Rs24 crore. Total donations were Rs639 crores.
 
Some of these donations were from companies making net losses or having severely low profit during this period. Future Gaming purchased a total of Rs1,368 crore worth of electoral bonds, but its net profit was just Rs215 crore from FY19-20 to FY22-23. 
 
Similarly, Qwik Supply Chain purchased bonds worth Rs410 crore while its net profit was just Rs109 crore. Further, Navayuga Construction Engineering company purchased bonds worth Rs55 crore but reported a net loss of Rs495 crore from FY19-20 to FY22-23.
 
Some of the major donors were also found to be under investigation by central investigative agencies. For example, the highest bond buyer, Future Gaming, under investigation by the directorate of enforcement (ED) in July 2019, faced raids in April 2022 and May 2023. 
 
Megha Engineering also faced raids from the ED as well as the income tax (I-T) department. MK Jalan Group donated bonds worth Rs616.9 crore and there was a search by ED in February 2019. 
 
Hero Motocorp faced I-T raids in March 2022 and purchased electoral bonds worth Rs20 crore on 7 October 2022, which were encashed by BJP on 11 October 2022. But the company again faced ED raids at the house of its chairman in August 2023. 
 
Aurobindo Pharma's MD (managing director) was arrested by ED on 10 November 2022. In the same month, Aurobindo Pharma bought an electoral bond worth Rs5 crore on 15 November, which were then encashed by BJP on 21 November 2022.
 
Source: The Hindu
Comments
moudgilmanu
2 months ago
Why is communist party's logo in your main image when they dont even have an electoral bond account and got no money through bonds?
raulvkunj
2 months ago
Shouldnt the RBI come down heavily on SBI for accepting money from unknown sources. For the common citizen and lesser financial companies there are strictures and penalties - but for SBI? Also, for the common citizen there is reKYC and reKYC but for big money bags the rules are thrown out of the window.
barokhoka1956
2 months ago
The largest money laundering case in Independent India. Why not the Beneficiaries' Accounts be audited by the Statutory Audit i.e. the CAG? The SBI chiefs also needed to be questioned who are the Unknown Donors and how they have allowed the purchases?
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