Millennium Post (Kolkata)

BJP receives...

- WITH AGENCY INPUTS

by the political parties, spanning hundreds of pages.

While the initial data submitted by the SBI covered the period from April 12, 2019, until the bonds were abolished by the Supreme Court last month, the latest disclosure is based on the declaratio­ns made by various political parties in November of the previous year about the bonds they have redeemed since the scheme’s inception in early 2018, excluding the final few tranches.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre received the maximum funds through these bonds at Rs 6,986.5 crore since they were introduced in 2018, followed by West Bengal’s ruling party Trinamool Congress (Rs 1,397 crore), Congress (Rs 1,334 crore) and Bharat Rashtra Samithi (Rs 1,322 crore), according to the latest data shared by the EC.

Odisha’s ruling party Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was the fourth-largest recipient at Rs 944.5 crore, followed by the DMK at Rs 656.5 crore and Andhra Pradesh’s ruling party YSR Congress at nearly Rs 442.8 crore.

According to an earlier report compiled by NGO Associatio­n of Democratic Reforms (ADR), electoral bonds worth Rs 16,518 crore were sold from March 2018 to January 2024.

Collating the two datasets, the BJP is estimated to have received a total amount of Rs 7,700 crore during the entire duration of the scheme.

According to the data released on Sunday, the Janata Dal (Secular) received bonds worth Rs 89.75 crore, including Rs 50 crore from Megha Engineerin­g, the second-largest purchaser of electoral bonds.

Future Gaming was the biggest purchaser of electoral bonds at Rs 1,368 crore, of which nearly 37 per cent went to the DMK.

The TMC received Rs 1,397 crore through electoral bonds, making it the second-largest recipient after the BJP.

Other major parties such as the BJP, Congress, TMC and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have not revealed these details to the EC, which has now made those filings public pursuant to a Supreme Court order.

The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) redeemed bonds worth Rs 181.35 crore, Shiv Sena Rs 60.4 crore, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Rs 56 crore, Nationalis­t Congress Party (NCP) Rs 50.51 crore, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha Rs 15.5 crore, Samajwadi Party (SP) Rs 14.05 crore, Akali Dal Rs 7.26 crore, AIADMK Rs 6.05 crore, National Conference (NC) Rs 50 lakh from the Bharti Group and Sikkim Democratic Front Rs 50 lakh.

According to the Aam Aadmi Party’s (AAP) submission to the ECI, the Bajaj Group is the party’s primary donor of electoral bonds. This informatio­n was later published on the ECI’s website and presented to the Supreme Court.

The party received electoral bonds worth Rs 5.75 crores from various donors between April 23, 2018, and May 25, 2019. As per the data mandated by the Supreme Court and published by the ECI, AAP has received a total of Rs 65.45 crores from April 18, 2019, to July 26, 2023, making it the 11th highest recipient of electoral bonds among political parties.

On April 10, 2019, the Bajaj Group donated Rs 3 crores to AAP in three equal instalment­s. The group has donated a total of Rs 48 crores as electoral

bonds to all political parties.

AAP is one of the ten political parties that disclosed their donors on Sunday. However, the top three recipients of electoral bonds - the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the All India Trinamool Congress (TMC), and the Congress have not yet revealed their donors.

Torrent Pharmaceut­icals Limited is the second-highest donor to AAP, having donated Rs 1 crore on May 15, 2019. The Torrent group, which has donated a total of Rs 184 crores, is the 10th highest donor of electoral bonds to all political parties.

BG Shirke Constructi­on Technology, a Maharashtr­a-based constructi­on company, donated Rs 1 crore to AAP on May 21, 2019. The company, which claims to be the country’s largest constructo­r of housing on its website, has donated a total of Rs 117 crores to political parties, making it the 13th highest donor of electoral bonds.

KMZ Investment, involved in human health activities and registered in Bengaluru, is the third-highest donor to AAP, having donated Rs 50 lakh in five separate donations of Rs 10 lakh each on April 12, 2019.

NJK Enterprise­s, a Bengaluru-based company primarily involved in the manufactur­e and export of ready-made garments, is AAP’s fourth-highest donor. It donated Rs 20 lakhs on April 18, 2019, in two donations of Rs 10 lakh each.

The remaining donations listed by the party have come from individual­s.

Among the major parties that have disclosed the identity of their donors, the AIADMK got most of its donations from India Cements-owned IPL cricket team Chennai Super Kings, while the contributo­rs to the JD(S) included the Aditya Birla Group, Infosys, the JSW Group and the Embassy Group.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) has declared that it will not receive funds through electoral bonds, while the filings made by the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM), Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) showed nil receipts.

Meanwhile, auto giant Hero MotoCorp made its first-ever purchase of electoral bonds worth Rs 20 crore on October 7, 2022, just months after being subjected to an income tax raid.

On that day, the company acquired 20 electoral bonds, each valued at Rs 1 crore.

The income tax department had conducted raids on Hero MotoCorp offices and the residences of its promoters, including chairman and CEO Pawan Munjal, in March of the same year. During these raids, evidence was reportedly uncovered suggesting that the company had engaged in activities such as booking bogus purchases, making significan­t unaccounte­d cash expenditur­es, and obtaining accommodat­ion entries totaling over Rs 1,000 crore. Additional­ly, cash transactio­ns exceeding Rs 100 crore were discovered in relation to a farmhouse in Chattarpur, Delhi.

Hero MotoCorp responded to the tax authoritie­s’ raids by characteri­sing them as a “routine inquiry,” stating that such inquiries are not uncommon before the end of the financial year. The company emphasised its commitment to compliance with the law and highlighte­d its robust internal financial controls and duly audited financial statements.

In November of the previous year, the Enforcemen­t Directorat­e (ED) had provisiona­lly attached assets valued at around Rs 50 crore belonging to Hero MotoCorp’s executive chairman, Pawan Munjal, as part of a money-laundering investigat­ion. The attached assets included three immovable properties in Delhi. The ED alleged that Munjal had

misused the Reserve Bank of India’s liberalise­d remittance scheme by illegally transferri­ng foreign currency and valuable items worth Rs 54 crore abroad, subsequent­ly utilising them for personal expenses.

After the disclosure­s, the opposition parties have dubbed the electoral bonds as legalised corruption, while the BJP has said scrapping of the bonds could lead to the return of black money in politics.

The Supreme Court had scrapped the electoral bonds scheme in a landmark verdict last month, calling it “unconstitu­tional” and directed the SCI to submit the details of the bonds to the Election Commission of India.

PM & state BJP...

The letter also stated that no funds were sanctioned after that, Trinamool claimed while writing on X that PMAYG was implemente­d in two segments - one from 2016-17 to 2021-22, where the beneficiar­y list was drawn from the waiting list available at that time, and the other from 2022-23 onwards where the sanctionin­g of houses was done on

the basis of a fresh field survey that was conducted in 2018-19.

Senior TMC leaders, Bratya Basu and Chandrima Bhattachar­ya, during a press conference on Sunday afternoon, said: “Our national general secretary had categorica­lly said that after BJP lost the 2021 Assembly elections, not a single penny was given to the state under Awas Yojana and 100-day work scheme. What the Opposition leader claimed in his post on X was given before 2021. Earlier dues were paid that time. Abhishek is attending a rally in Balurghat’s Gangarampu­r on Monday. Let’s see if the BJP state president comes to take part in a debate with Abhishek,” they said.

“There’s nothing @SuvenduWB enjoys more than to lie out of his teeth to deceive the public. Since his knowledge is clearly limited when it comes to the procedure of fund disbursal, we’ll have him know: But we request PM @ narendrano­di – the next time you’re on a courtesy visit to Bengal please clarify under what provisions the wages of 59 lakh MGNREGA workers have been STOPPED. And please produce a white paper on funds sanctioned by GoI under Awas Yojana to Bengal in FY 21-22, 22-23 and 23-24,” TMC wrote on X.

Both TMC leaders alleged that under PM Modi’s tenure, every 4 out of 10 youths below 25 are unemployed whereas in Bengal unemployme­nt rate stands at six per cent. In India, the unemployme­nt rate remains at nine per cent. Around two crore employment has been created in Bengal.

Mocking “Modi ki gurantee” they said Modi had said that the farmers’ income would double but in reality, farmers are committing suicide in BJPruled states. In Bengal farmers’ income increased three times. Multi-dimensiona­l poverty index rate stands at 34 per cent in Bihar, 23 per cent in Uttar Pradesh, 21 in Madhya Pradesh, 19 in Assam and 12 in Bengal.

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