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Electoral Bonds: Supreme Court says SBI ‘selective’, orders bank to reveal all details

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Supreme Court Of India
 
The Supreme Court on Monday rebuked the State Bank of India (SBI) saying the bank cannot be ‘selective’ in its approach while divulging data related to the now-scrapped Electoral Bonds scheme. The bank has been ordered to disclose all information on electoral bonds by Thursday 21st March.
The bank has been instructed by the apex court to divulge all ‘conceivable data’ on electoral bonds in its possession, including unique bond numbers revealing the link between the buyer and the recipient political party. The bank has also been told to reveal the serial number of each bond.
The court also directed SBI’s chairman to file a compliance affidavit by 5 PM on the above date mentioning that the bank has not suppressed any details. The Election Commission has been instructed by the apex court to upload the details shared by SBI.
A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and also comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said, “We had asked all details to be disclosed by the SBI which includes electoral bond numbers as well. Let SBI not be selective in disclosure.”

Electoral Bonds: who donated?

This comes barely four days after the Election Commission of India uploaded the data related to Electoral Bonds submitted by the State Bank of India on its website on Thursday, 15th March. This highlighted top names dominating the Indian business scene like Vedanta Ltd., Jindal Group, Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finance, Piramal Enterprises, Ultratech Cement and Grasim Industries (Aditya Birla Group), Lakshmi Mittal, Sun Pharma, Cipla, Torrent Power, RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, Bharti Airtel, Mahindra and Mahindra, ITC, PVR and DLF Commercial Developers among donors to political parties through the Electoral Bonds Scheme.
As per the data revealed by ECI, 22217 bonds worth Rs 12,155.51 have been purchased by 1260 companies and people between 2019 and 2024. Out of 22,217 electoral bonds, 22030 were redeemed between April 1, 2019 and February 15, 2024 as revealed by SBI in Supreme Court.
Future Gaming and Hotel Services (donated 1368 crore), Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd (donated 966 crore), Qwik Supply Chain Private Ltd (donated 410 crore), Vedanta Ltd (donated 400 crore), Haldia Energy Ltd (Flagship of RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group donated 377 crore), Bharti Group (donated 247 crore), Essel Mining and Industries Ltd (donated 224 crore), Western UP Power Transmission (donated 220 crore), Keventer Foodpark Infra Ltd and Madanlal Ltd. (donated 185 crore) are the top 10 donor companies through electoral bonds.

Electoral Bonds: Political parties benefited

A total of 23 political parties have redeemed these bonds with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) topping the list followed by Mamata Banerjee-led All India Trinamool Congress and Indian National Congress. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has received the highest donation through Electoral Bonds which redeemed bonds worth Rs 6060.5 crore, followed by All India Trinamool Congress which received Rs 1609.50 crore and Congress which received Rs 1421.9 crore.
Other political parties which benefited from the Electoral Bonds scheme include AIADMK, BRS, Shiv Sena, TDP, YSR Congress, DMK, JD-S, NCP, JDU, RJD, AAP, the Samajwadi Party, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, BJD, Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, JMM, Sikkim Democratic Front and the Jana Sena Party.