Freshly BrewedLok Sabha elections

Pharma Companies’ Dark Dealings Shake Nation’s Trust and Impact Every Indian- Activists

Prashant Bhushan, who has put fresh petition before SC calls for retrieval of bribe money and punishment for involved officials in Electoral Bond Scam; Anjali Bhardwaj criticizes delay in SC's ruling and SK Mishra's long tenure. SC lawyer also claims BJP will get fewer than 200 seats

Kolkata: Activists Prashant Bhushan and Anjali Bhardwaj, who are raising awareness about the gravity of Electoral Bond Scam, claimed on Saturday that the worst nightmare occurred when pharmaceutical companies used it to buy bonds and sell clinically failed medicines in the market, impacting the lives of almost every single Indian.

“After the Supreme Court’s declaration that Electoral Bonds are unconstitutional, it was revealed that the Electoral Bond Scam is the biggest in Indian history; hence, responsibility should be fixed for the crime. Now, the Supreme Court should constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to retrieve money from the parties that have taken it as a bribe and punish those officials who were involved in the extortion racket in the name of electoral bonds,” argued Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan in Kolkata.

The two activists are visiting several major cities in India to raise awareness among people that how many folds large scale corruption took place through electoral bonds.

How Electoral Bond Scam is the Biggest Scam Ever

“We had challenged the bonds in 2018 itself, claiming they are against the rights of the people to know about the donors in politics, and they will also increase corruption as well as money laundering. We also argued that those parties which are not ruling anywhere will not get any funding, which is against the level playing field in politics,” the Supreme Court lawyers said to newsmen at the Press Club.

He further stated, “The Supreme Court took six years but gave a good judgment. But till then, 1650 crore worth of bonds were bought.”

The senior lawyer then praised the role of independent media which worked on data provided by the State Bank of India and revealed every layer of the corruption, “Half of the total bonds (850 thousand) were given to the BJP. The rest were given to those parties which were in power in different states. The parties which did not rule anywhere did not get any money.”

“Ten thousand crores were given to those parties, which benefited the company. It was like a bribe. The biggest benefit was that the companies which bought 5000 crore bonds, at least 5 lakh crore worth of work was allotted to such companies,” he mentioned.

And claimed, “Other kinds were from those companies which were facing some action against any agencies. It was like extortion money, as Gundas get hafta. It was done by BJP as ED, CBI, and IT are with the centre. The companies which did tax evasion or money laundering and are facing inquiry get their investigation stopped as soon as they paid money through EB.”

The activist gave specific examples of two major cases, “Grasim Industry (of Aditya Birla Group) bought more than 100 crores bonds to change import policy. Bharti Telecom gave Rs 150 crore bonds to BJP. And BJP gave satellite Spectrum without tender. When the Supreme Court had given the 2G decision, it had said that no satellite spectrum will be given to anyone without tender.”

“But the most dangerous thing which affects the common man directly is that several pharmaceutical companies bought several thousand crores of bonds and gave it to BJP and several state governments. These companies were making several substandard medicines and were denied permission by drug regulators to sell them. But now they are selling those medicines in the market,” the lawyer pointed out.

He mentioned the Indian Finance Minister’s husband in his statement and said, “That is why the economist and husband of Nirmala Sitharaman, Parakala Prabhakar claimed that the electoral bond is the biggest scam not only of India but entire world.”

Accountability should be fixed for the scam

Prashant Bhushan, who has again gone to the Supreme Court to fix accountability for the scam, demanding that the court should tell political parties to return the bribe they received as electoral bonds, said, “All the funding, parties will not be returned, but when the SIT will be set up, further investigation will reveal the amount of money parties received as a bribe.”

When eNewsroom asked, because central agencies made electoral bonds an extortion money racket, should officials also not be punished for it?

“Yes, we will also demand from the court that along with returning the bribe amount, officials who helped in the bribe or extortion for parties should be identified and punished severely,” mentioned the senior lawyer.

Prashant said that he has always said that the ED (Enforcement Directorate)’s conviction rate is very low. So the court should see why cases did not reach any conclusion, and if they find it fake, then it is the responsibility of the court to prosecute such officers, only then it will stop.

Why did SK Mishra remain ED director for 5 years, and got so many extensions?

Continuing from where Prashant Bhushan left off, on the action against officials, Transparency activist Anjali Bhardwaj rued, “There is one more thing inside it. The agencies are being controlled by controlling heads of it. The role of ED is so concerning in electoral bonds. You will see that in the six years of the EB system, for five years, SK Mishra remained as director and the court had to intervene several times to remove him, still, he got several extensions and remained there for more than five years. And now, the centre has not appointed anyone as the ED Director for eight months.”

Earlier, Anjali also mentioned that the Supreme Court took six years to declare electoral bonds unconstitutional.

“And even after this, still there is no information about the 25 percent bonds worth 4000 crores, which were bought between March 2018 and April 2019,” she added.

BJP, the biggest beneficiary, will be hurt because of it in LS polls

The senior lawyer and activist Prashant, who was among the founders of the Aam Aadmi party, claimed that after the revelations of the electoral bond scam, BJP is facing corruption allegations and it is hurting the party’s prospects in ongoing Lok Sabha polls.

So how many seats will the BJP get? “The desperation in the Prime Minister’s speeches reflects that the BJP is faring very badly, and I believe it will not get more than 220, maybe even fewer than 200,” he added.

Shahnawaz Akhtar

is Founder of eNewsroom. He loves doing human interest, political and environment related stories.

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