BJP got 84% of electoral bonds bought by top 10 individuals


The top donor, ArcelorMittal’s chairperson Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, bought bonds worth Rs 35 crore, all of which were donated to the BJP…reports Asian Lite News

The top 10 individual donors bought electoral bonds worth Rs 180.2 crore between April 12, 2019 and January 11, 2024, and of this, Rs 152.2 crore or 84.5% was donated to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), according to the latest tranche of data released by the Election Commission on Thursday.

The second biggest recipient was the Trinamool Congress (TMC) which got Rs 16.2 crore or about 9% of the money. The third biggest was the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) with Rs 5 crore.

The top donor, ArcelorMittal’s chairperson Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, bought bonds worth Rs 35 crore, all of which were donated to the BJP.

The second top individual donor was Laxmi Das Vallabhdas Merchant, who donated all his Rs 25 crore to the BJP in November 2023.

According to his Linkedin profile, Merchant is the Group Controller of Reliance Industries Ltd, and has been at the company for more than 33 years.

Of the top 10 individuals, Mittal, Merchant, KR Raja JT, Inder Thakurdas Jaisinghani, Rahul Jagannath Joshi and his son Harmesh Rahul Joshi, Raju Kumar Sharma, Saurabh Gupta, and Anita Hemant Shah donated only to the BJP.

Jaisinghani is the chairperson and managing director of Polycab India, the country’s largest manufacturer of wires and cables. The Joshi father-son duo are directors on the boards of multiple freight companies.

IndiGo’s Rahul Bhatia donated Rs 16.2 crore to the TMC, and ₹3.8 crore to the Nationalist Congress Party. Separately, IndiGo and related entities donated Rs 31 crore to the BJP in May 2019, and Rs 5 crore to the Congress in April 2023

Rajesh Mannalal Agrawal, the CEO of Ajanta Pharma, donated a total of Rs 13 crore –  Rs 5 crore each to the BJP and the BRS, and Rs 3 crore to Congress. Ajanta Pharma separately donated Rs 3 crore to the BJP and Rs 1 crore to the Congress.

Another significant individual donor, Biocon’s Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, ranked 12th in the list of individual donors and donated Rs 6 crore –  Rs 4 crore to BJP, and Rs 1 crore each to the Janata Dal (Secular) and Congress.

In the Supreme Court, the SBI said it had revealed the names of the purchasers of the bonds, the denominations and the specific number of the bonds, the names of the parties that encashed the bonds, the last four digits of the bank account numbers of political parties, the denominations and numbers of the bonds encashed.

The affidavit said the complete bank account numbers and KYC details of the political parties and the purchasers of electoral bonds were not being made public because it might compromise the security of the account. However, they are not necessary for identifying the political parties, the filing said.

“SBI has now disclosed all details and that no details (other than complete bank account numbers and KYC Details) have been withheld from disclosure,” the affidavit said.

The disclosed information include: The details of purchasers, serial numbers, URN numbers, journal dates, dates of purchase, dates of expiry, the names of the purchasers, prefixes, bond number, denominations, issuing branch codes, issuing teller and status. The second list has details such as the details of redemption by political parties, serial numbers, dates of encashment, names of the political party, last four digits of the account number, prefixes, bond numbers, denominations, pay branch codes, and pay teller.

The Supreme Court had on Monday told the SBI to not be selective in its disclosure of details regarding electoral bonds and reveal all details, including the alphanumeric number corresponding to each bond.

The chairman of SBI was told by the court to file an affidavit by 5 pm on Thursday, affirming that the bank had disclosed all the details regarding the electoral bonds.

The court said its February 15 judgment mandated SBI to disclose “all details”, including the date, of purchase/redemption, names of purchaser/recipient, and the denominations, and the use of the word “including” means that the details specified in the judgment were illustrative and not exhaustive.

The court also directed the EC to upload on its website the details received from the SBI forthwith upon its receipt.

The Supreme Court had on February 15 struck down the electoral bond scheme, calling it unconstitutional and manifestly arbitrary.

SBI on March 4 moved the Supreme Court, seeking an extension till June 30, 2024, to furnish information about electoral bonds to the Election Commission (EC).

The court dismissed the plea, directing SBI to share all the details with the EC by March 12 and asked the EC to publish it by March 15.

SBI had said it would require time to match the details of the donor with the political party they had donated to, but the Supreme Court clarified it need not do any such matching and would have to submit the details that are readily available with it.

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