ANI Photo | “You will find some interesting facts coming to light,” Congress MP Manish Tewari on electoral bonds

Congress MP Manish Tewari on Friday said that the Supreme Court should order the “corporate veil of shell companies to be lifted” to determine whether any quid pro quo in terms of favours have taken place between those who donated to political parties adding that in the coming days, people will get to know “interesting facts.”
“The revelations by the ECI with regard to the list of donors of electoral bonds and the donees who received the bonds will provide for an interesting exercise of co-relation between the donor and the donee whether any alleged quid pro quo in terms of favours have taken place. Over the coming days, when this exercise is done, you will find some interesting facts coming to light,” Tewari told ANI on the electoral bonds issue.
“Most important are those unknown and mysterious donors, who are hiding behind electoral trusts and shell companies, the Supreme Court must direct that the corporate veil of these shell companies must be lifted to determine as to who the true donor or true purchaser is and to whom these bonds have gone,” the Congress leader said.
The Supreme Court on Friday took exception to SBI not furnishing unique numbers on Electoral Bonds and said that the judgment of the Constitution bench clarified that all details of electoral bonds will be made available including the date of purchase, name of the purchaser, and the denomination.
“SBI has not disclosed the electoral bonds (unique alphanumeric numbers). Court issues notice to the SBI and seek a response by March 18,” the top court said.
Meanwhile, Advocate Prashant Bhushan said that SBI has not disclosed the numbers of the electoral bonds, which it had to do.
“The information that the political parties have submitted to the Election Commission regarding who had donated the electoral bonds to them that information accoridng to the Election Commission was submitted in original in sealed covers to the Supreme Court, so they said that they don’t have copies of that and therefore the court returns them what they have given to the Court. So the Court said that we will digitize the information that you have given to us,” he said.
He further said that the court also raised the issue of the information submitted by the State Bank of India to the election commission about the particular of the bonds.
“The Court said SBI has not disclosed the numbers of the electoral bonds, so therefore they have not given full information about the people who purchased the bonds,” he added.
Most prominent political parties have been beneficiaries of the scheme. They include the Bharatiya Janata Party, Congress, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Trinamool Congress, Telugu Desam Party, Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), Shiv Sena, YSR Congress Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Aam Aadmi Party and Jana Sena Party.
The Election Commission on March 14 uploaded data on electoral bonds on its website as received from SBI. Future Gaming and Hotel Services and Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Ltd were among the top donors to political parties.
According to the data, some of the donors include Finolex Cables Ltd, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, Edelweiss Housing Finance Ltd, GHCL Ltd, Jindal Poly Films Limited, ITC Limited and Vedanta Limited, Grasim Industries Limited PR, Piramal Capital and Housing Finance Limited, Piramal Enterprises Ltd, Muthoot Finance Limited, Pegasus Properties Private Limited, Bajaj Finance Ltd, Bharti Airtel Limited, Apollo Tyres Limited and SpiceJet Limited.
JK Cement Ltd, DLF Commercial Developers Limited, Avon Cycles Ltd, Zydus Healthcare Limited, Cipla Limited, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, Mankind Pharma Limited, Qwik Supply Chain Private Limited, Haldia Energy Limited, Essel Mining and Industry Limited, Western UP Power Transmission Company Limited. Keventer Food Parks Limited, Jindal Steel and Power Limited, BG Shirke Construction Technology Pvt Ltd, Rungta Sons Pvt Ltd and Torrent Power Limited are also among donors, according to the data.
The poll panel issued a press note providing the link on which the data provided by the SBI can be accessed.
SBI said that the data has been furnished in respect of bonds purchased and redeemed between April 12, 2019 to February 15, 2024.
A total of 22,217 bonds were purchased during the period April 1, 2019, till February 15, 2024, SBI told the Supreme Court.
An electoral bond is an instrument in the nature of a promissory note or bearer bond which can be purchased by any individual, company, firm or association of persons provided the person or body is a citizen of India or incorporated or established in India. The bonds were issued specifically for the purpose of contribution of funds to political parties.
These bonds were issued/purchased for any value, in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1,00,000, Rs 10,00,000 and Rs 1,00,00,000 from the specified branches of the State Bank of India (SBI).
Various petitions were filed before the top court challenging amendments made to different statutes through Finance Act 2017 and Finance Act 2016 on the ground that they have opened doors to unlimited, unchecked funding of political parties

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