Electoral Bond Scheme: A Tale of Unique Scam

The electoral bond scheme is the biggest scam in India so far and Modi led BJP government, which brought it, is the most corrupt government of independent India

In 2017, the BJP government implemented the scheme of electoral bonds through the Finance Bill, bypassing the Rajya Sabha, despite the opposition of all the opposition parties and the prohibition of the Election Commission and the Reserve Bank, which was an unprecedented effort to legalize corruption. The fear of ‘quid pro quo’ (corrupt transactions), which the Supreme Court had pointed out in February while declaring this scheme illegal, proved to be 100 percent correct after all the figures came out.

With these figures coming out, it also became clear why the State Bank of India was taking so much care in making it public. First, he sought time till June 30, violating the date set by the Supreme Court for handing over the data to the Election Commission. That is, every effort was made to make the information public only after the elections were over and a new government was formed. When the court reprimanded and said that the data would have to be given by 5 pm on March 14, otherwise, a case of contempt of court would be made, then by handing over the data to the Election Commission on March 14, it was ensured that which group gave electoral bonds to whom. This should not be known. The method was not to disclose the alphanumeric codes printed on the bonds purchased and redeemed. That is, you could not find out from that list that out of the bonds worth crores of rupees purchased by company ‘A’, how many went to party ‘A’, how many to ‘B’, ‘C’ etc.

Despite this, it was already clear from the list of those who bought the bonds that many of them included shell companies, that is, companies whose existence is only on paper and which are created only to move money around. Secondly, it also became clear that many of these companies bought bonds worth several times their total income (the earlier upper limit on donations, seven and a half percent of total profits, has been removed by the electoral bond scheme). Had given). It is not difficult to understand why a company does this. Either it is a fake company and has been created only to divert someone else’s money, or else that company is keeping in mind the reality of profit i.e. not the present but the possibility of profit i.e. the future and electoral bonds are its investment.

From this first and second point, it was clear that this was a means of legalizing corruption. The third thing that also became clear at the same time was that among the companies that invested a lot of money in electoral bonds, there were many such companies on which Income Tax or ED action was going on, and needless to say, these were departments are working under the central government. Yes, based on the data made public, it was difficult to claim whether the electoral bonds of such companies went to the BJP in power at the Center or not.
Not being able to prove this from the data made public was the reason why SBI did not disclose the alphanumeric codes and told the Supreme Court that it was not within its capacity to do all the calculations so quickly. The Supreme Court knew that in this computerized era, this was a pure excuse, so it gave time till 5 pm on March 21 that you will have to give all the information you have, you cannot withhold any of it. All information means all information.

The amazing thing is that SBI, which could not provide anything before June 30, provided all that on March 21, i.e. 100 days before the expected date as per its capacity. Shouldn’t SBI be asked that if it could have given, then why was it insisting on giving? Who was that person who twisted your arms and you obeyed only when someone else twisted you more? Who was telling you to beware that you allowed our reality to be revealed?

The same person who was twisting the arms of SBI was also sending his petition to FICCI and ASSOCHAM to the court that Your Honor, this secret of which company gave it to whom should not be revealed, because it is not in the interest of the business houses.

However, all means were adopted to soften the tough stance of the Supreme Court, which was perhaps unexpected for this ‘Who’. But the stance remained strict and eventually the figures came out. And when they arrived, the speculations turned into reality. The reality is that the BJP is not only the biggest beneficiary in this opaque system of electoral bonds (it was already known that since April 2019, about 50 percent of the amount has gone to its account alone, earlier more had gone), but He is also the most corrupt beneficiary, who has taken the help of central agencies and made such recovery from business houses, which would not have been possible without this opaque system. By taking these anonymous donations from the business houses which were raided for cases like money laundering and tax evasion, the action against them was stopped. It is alleged that central agencies were used as agents of extortion.

“In March 2022, Parliament was informed that raids and searches on ‘suspects’ had increased 27 times under the Modi government. 3010 such actions were taken by ED, but chargesheet was filed in only 888 of them and only 23 accused were found guilty by the court. The gap between these three phases can be better understood in the light of electoral bond data. “This government has proved to be the most corrupt government – ​​a stark contrast to Narendra Modi’s claim of ‘neither will I eat nor will I allow’.” (Vrinda Karat, ‘Who Pays Who Wins’, Indian Express, 23 March 2024).

Data analysts have found many such cases. For example, in September 2018, the Haryana Police filed a case against Robert Vadra and the DLF Group for corruption and fraud in a land deal in Gurugram. In January 2019, CBI searched the offices of DLF in another case. Between October 2019 and November 2022, three DLF Group companies purchased electoral bonds worth a total of Rs 170 crore and the sole beneficiary was the BJP, DLF Group did not make any donation to any other political party. Surprisingly, in April 2023, the BJP government of Haryana told the court that it had not found any irregularity in the land deal between Vadra and DLF. The case was dismissed.

An interesting example is that of Aurobindo Pharma. This Hyderabad-based company is an accused in the Delhi Excise Policy case. In November 2022, its director P Sarathachandra Reddy was arrested by the ED, five days after which the company gave electoral bonds worth Rs 5 crore to the BJP. When Mr. Reddy’s case came before the High Court, the ED did not oppose his bail and he got bail in May 2023 on the grounds of ill health. In June 2023, Sharat Reddy became a government witness in this case and two months later, the company donated another Rs 25 crore to the BJP.

Remember that Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has also been arrested in the Delhi Excise Policy case. It is said that there is no other evidence of money transactions against those who are involved in this case – except the witnesses. While hearing the bail of Manish Sisodia in this case, the court had told the ED that this case was very weak and would blow away in a jiffy; There is no evidence as to through which hands the alleged bribe amount passed. Despite saying this, he did not grant bail, this is a different matter. Looking at this matter, the first curiosity that arises is that if Aurobindo Pharma gave Rs 100 crore to the Aam Aadmi Party, then why was this work not done through electoral bonds? After the introduction of this scheme, why would the money be sent to any political party through any other route instead of such a safe route? However, Arvind Kejriwal is still in custody and general elections have been announced in the country. Connecting the loose ends of everything, a very scary picture appears to emerge, which this article should not go in the direction of right now, because that would be a digression. But at least it is within the scope of the topic that if Aam Aadmi Party leaders can be caught on charges of favouritism by taking money, then why not BJP leaders, when it has been proved that they have To get the same money laundering accused released from custody, he first took Rs 5 crore and then Rs 25 crore and also convinced him to become a government witness.

On March 25, The Indian Express published details of 26 companies purchasing electoral bonds that came under the scanner of central agencies. Of these, 16 companies purchased bonds after coming under the scanner of agencies and the other 6 companies increased the purchase of electoral bonds after coming under the scanner of agencies. If you read the analysis of Express, you will know that it is not only the BJP that has redeemed the bonds of these companies. The parties in the state governments have also benefited from these. But BJP has got its largest share, 37.34 percent. This means that the largest portion was spent on avoiding the wrath of the central investigating agencies and the rest on getting the state governments to do their jobs.

All these facts scream one thing: the electoral bond scheme is the biggest scam this country has ever seen and the government that introduced it is the most corrupt government of independent India. The communists of this country not only understood this from the very beginning but also refused to take electoral bonds (they do not take donations from corporate houses anyway) to maintain the moral authority to fight it. That is why CPI (M) was able to become a petitioner in the Supreme Court against this scheme. The irony of other political parties is that they continued to oppose it and could not resist the temptation of taking whatever crumbs came to their plate. But this alone does not make everyone one-size-fits-all. After the disclosure of the complete data, the BJP should get the title of the most corrupt party. Unfortunately, the mainstream media is still looking for other parties to hand over this title.

Are you able to see the exposed face of the BJP anywhere except in newspapers and news portals?

This is the opinion of the author.

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