A whopping 99.8 per cent of donations received by political parties was through electoral bonds of the highest denominations — Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore — between March 2018 and January 24, 2019, revealed data obtained under the RTI Act.
Donors purchased bonds worth Rs 1,407.09 crore, of which Rs 1,403.90 crore were in the highest denominations of Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore during the period.
Social worker Chandrashekhar Goud shared the data received from State Bank of India (SBI) through an RTI query. The donors bought 1,459 electoral bonds of denomination of Rs 10 lakh and 1,258 bonds of Rs one crore denomination. They purchased 318 bonds of Rs one lakh, 12 bonds of Rs 10,000 and 24 bonds of Rs 1000 denomination, according to the RTI reply.
Electoral bonds worth Rs 1,395.89 crore were redeemed by the parties. Gaud had also asked the bank how many parties redeemed the bonds and worth how much money, but the SBI did not disclose it, saying it was in fiduciary capacity disclosure which is exempted under Section 8 (1) (e) and (j) of the RTI Act.
Electoral bonds were sold by the State Bank of India (SBI) in seven tranches. They were sold in five denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore.
The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), a voluntary organisation, working for political reforms, had approached the Supreme Court seeking a stay order on the sale of electoral bonds.
On Friday, the Supreme Court refused to suspend the political funding through electoral bonds but, did introduce conditions to bring transparency in the process.