Electoral Bond Data Analysis Raises Questions About Purchasers and Investigations in India

The article raises serious concerns about India's Electoral Bond Scheme, highlighting questionable donors, lack of investigations, and the scheme's impact on political funding transparency. The Supreme Court's ruling against the scheme underscores the need for reforms to ensure electoral integrity.

Dil Bar Irshad
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Electoral Bond Data Analysis Raises Questions About Purchasers and Investigations in India

Electoral Bond Data Analysis Raises Questions About Purchasers and Investigations in India

An analysis of electoral bond data by @SummaSammsss has raised significant questions about the purchasers and lack of investigations into India's Electoral Bond Scheme (EBS).

The EBS was introduced in 2018 to facilitate anonymous financial contributions to political parties without limitation. However, the Supreme Court recently held that the electoral bonds are unconstitutional, violating the right to information and being arbitrary in nature.

The Court rejected the government's argument that the EBS protects donor privacy, stating that the donor's identity cannot be hidden if the donation is through banking channels, and the authorized bank can reveal the identity for investigation purposes. Data disclosed by the State Bank of India on orders of the Supreme Court revealed the beneficiaries of the electoral bonds scheme and the biggest political donors in India.

The analysis by @SummaSammsss highlights several concerning findings. Twenty new firms have purchased electoral bonds despite it being a punishable offense. At least 33 companies that had an aggregate loss of over Rs 1 lakh crore from FY17 and FY23 donated close to Rs 582 crores, and many companies have donated much more than their net profits. Additionally, many donor firms had faced regulatory actions from the Enforcement Directorate or the Income Tax department.

Why this matters: The electoral bond scheme has significant implications for the transparency and integrity of political funding in India. The analysis raises questions about the nature of the purchasers and the lack of investigations into potential irregularities, despite the scheme's stated intention to curb black money and maintain donor privacy.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been the major beneficiary of the electoral bonds, receiving the maximum funds at ₹6,986.5 crore between 12 April 2019 and 15 February 2024. Other major parties like Trinamool Congress, Congress, and Bharat Rashtra Samithi also received significant funds through the scheme. The opposition parties have dubbed the electoral bonds as 'legalized corruption', while the BJP has argued that canceling the scheme could lead to the return of black money in politics.

The data also revealed that 41 companies facing probe by various agencies have donated ₹2,471 crore to the BJP through electoral bonds, with ₹1,698 crore donated after the raids by these agencies. The subsequent court-ordered disclosures shed light on the obscurity of the electoral bonds scheme, with several prominent conglomerates and companies facing possible investigations purchasing the bonds, suggesting an effort to gain favor with the BJP.

The Supreme Court's decision to strike down the electoral bonds system as unconstitutional gives hope to activists who have grown concerned about the independence of India's top court. The verdict emphasized the importance of transparency in political funding and the citizens' right to information. As renowned economist Parakala Prabhakar described the Electoral Bond Scheme as the 'biggest scam in the world', the analysis by @SummaSammsss underscores the need for further investigations and reforms to ensure the integrity of India's electoral process.

Key Takeaways

  • Supreme Court ruled electoral bonds unconstitutional, violating right to information.
  • 20 new firms bought bonds despite it being illegal, many with losses donated heavily.
  • BJP received maximum funds of ₹6,986.5 crore through bonds, other parties also benefited.
  • 41 companies facing probes donated ₹2,471 crore to BJP, ₹1,698 crore after raids.
  • Verdict emphasizes need for transparency in political funding, further investigations required.