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Electoral Bonds Data From SBI Uploaded On Election Commission Website

In a significant stride towards transparency in political funding, the Election Commission of India has published data regarding electoral bonds provided by the State Bank of India. This disclosure comes a day ahead of the deadline set by the Supreme Court. The released information covers purchases of bonds ranging from ₹1,000 to ₹1 crore dating back to April 12, 2019, showcasing acquisitions by both companies and individuals.

The EC’s website presents two distinct lists. One delineates companies purchasing electoral bonds, specifying the denominations and dates. The other catalogues political parties alongside the denominations and encashment dates of the bonds they received. However, there exists no direct correlation between the lists to ascertain which entity contributed to which party. Notably, Future Gaming and Hotel Services PR tops the list of contributors, having acquired bonds worth ₹1,368 crore, followed by Megha Engineering And Infrastructures Limited at ₹966 crore.

Qwik Supply Chain Private Limited stands at a distant third with ₹410 crore, trailed by Vedanta Limited at ₹400 crore and Haldia Energy Limited at ₹377 crore. Bharti Group occupies the sixth position with a donation of ₹247 crore, succeeded by Essel Mining And Inds Ltd at ₹224 crore. The remaining slots in the top 10 donors include Western UP Power Transmission Company Limited (₹220 crore), Keventer Foodpark Infra Ltd (₹195 crore), and Madanlal Ltd (₹185 crore).

Among the political parties that encashed electoral bonds are the BJP, Congress, Trinamool Congress, AAP, Samajwadi Party, AIADMK, BRS, Shiv Sena, TDP, YSR Congress, DMK, JDS, NCP, JDU, and RJD.

The Election Commission, in its statement, affirmed the release of the data received from SBI, emphasizing its commitment to transparency as endorsed by the Supreme Court. However, Advocate Prashant Bhushan, representing the Association of Democratic Reforms, noted the absence of serial numbers for the bonds in the data, essential for tracking donations to specific parties, which he argued was implied in the Supreme Court’s order.

Regarding the Supreme Court’s admonishment, during a recent hearing, the SBI faced censure for its delay in furnishing the data to the poll body. The court had instructed the SBI to provide the data to the Election Commission by a specified date, with a warning of contempt proceedings for non-compliance. SBI complied with the order, submitting the data and filing an affidavit detailing the issuance and redemption of electoral bonds.

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