How Opaque Electoral Bonds Edge Out Transparent Funding Routes for 7 Political Parties
More and more big donors of political parties, including corporates, are using the electoral bond (EB) route for making large-sized donations due to the anonymity it provides to the donors. In fact, the annual audit reports for 2018-19 of seven political parties, as published by the Election Commission of India (ECI), shows that they have received more than 50% of their donations through electoral bonds, reveals an analysis by Ventakesh Nayak. While Indian National Congress (INC) tops the list in terms of percentage, it is the Bharatiya Janara Party (BJP) that garnered maximum donations through EB route, the analysis says. 
 
Mr Nayak, a research scholar, right to information (RTI) activist and programme co-ordinator of the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI), says, "The three national level recognised political parties received between 61-69.50% of their donations through the EBs route. While INC tops this list with 69.49%, BJP is at third place with EBs contributing only 61.63% of the donations received. However, at Rs2,354 crore, the BJP received the largest amount of funding through the EB route amongst all seven political parties."
 
"The worst fears of advocates of greater transparency in political party funding like me have come true. The opaque EBs mechanism where the identity of donors remains secret has become the preferred route for corporates and individuals making large sized donations to political parties. Interestingly, not all ruling political parties seem to have received funding through the EB route. Most notably, Janata Dal (United) (JD(U)), Aam Admi Party (AAP) and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) have not reported receipt of any EBs in 2018-19. Similarly prominent opposition parties such as Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M), Samajwadi Party (SP) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) have also not received EBs during the last financial year even though some of them have received donations to the tune of several crores through other modes of payment," he added.
 
According to their audit reports, All India Trinamool Congress (AITMC), BJP, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), INC, Janata Dal Secular (JD-S), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) and YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), together, have received Rs3,696.62 crore as donations from  corporates, individuals, electoral trusts and through EBs during FY18-19.
 
These seven political parties have received between 55% to 87% of their total donations through the EBs route and no party had received less than 50% of its donations through the EB route during FY18-19. 
 
 
Mr Nayak says, "Two state level recognised political parties received more than 80% of their donations in the form of EBs. At 87.91%, EBs contributed the largest proportion of donations to BJD's kitty. JD (S) came second with 82.20% of donations received in the form of EBs, while TRS came third on this list with EBs contributing more than 77%) of the quantum of donations received."
 
His analysis also reveals that only three parties, INC, TRS and YSRCP have declared the amount of donations received from corporates/companies separately in their audit reports. Together, they received less than 2% donations from corporates in a transparent manner. 
 
"Corporate donations, when not routed through EBs have to be accounted for in the contribution and audit reports if they are above Rs20,000. However, Aristo Pharmaceuticals, which made a donation of Rs13 crore to JD (United) without using EBs is an exception. They do not seem to be fearful of making such a large donation to one political party in a transparent manner. Their certificate of contribution is included in JD(U)'s annual contribution report for 2018-19," he added.
 
The analysis also finds that electoral trusts and foundations are losing their charm for political parties receiving funding through the EBs route. Only one national-level recognised political party and three state-level recognised parties received funding through this route. 
 
Mr Nayak says, "Electoral trusts contributed more than 17% to the INC's coffers- the largest recipient in this group. YSRCP received almost 15% of its donations from such Trusts while TRS received a little over 9% of funds through this route. BJD declared it had received less than 1% (0.82%) of its funds from such Trusts. Interestingly, the BJP, which mooted the EB scheme did not report any receipts from electoral trusts."
 
Although organisations, such as the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), have moved the Supreme Court challenging EBs as a mode of making political donations, according to Mr Nayak, there is another way to thwart this menace. 
 
"All opposition parties, which have spoken against EBs must publicly make a pledge not to accept contributions from anybody through EBs, and abide by it. Those that have already received funding through this route, must take a pledge not to accept EBs in future and abide by that pledge. This way, there is a strong likelihood that pressure might be built on the national democratic alliance (NDA) to withdraw this scheme. The alternate scheme where all donations above Rs20,000 must be accounted for individually and reported to the Election Commission is good enough to serve the purpose of transparency in political party funding, contrary to the NDA government's thinking," Mr Nayak concludes. 
 
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    COMMENTS

    m.prabhu.shankar

    2 weeks ago

    SuchindranathAiyerS has nicely mentioned - "legitimized and institutionalized corruption" by BJP which is dangerous for Union of India's Democracy.

    SuchindranathAiyerS

    2 weeks ago

    How Modi 's BJP Sarkar legitimized and institutionalized corruption: Apart from exempting advocates from GST, criminalizing the Bribe Giver (Victim) and retrospective amendment to FCRA: All that changed in 2014 was that evidence of crime lawfully vanished allowing corruption to flourish unhindered.

    ED attaches assets worth Rs 2,510 cr of SRS Group
    The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Thursday said it has attached Rs 2,510.82 crore worth of movable and immovable assets of SRS Group, its promoters, their family members and of associate companies on charges of defaulting on a loan of Rs 1,100 crore.
     
    The assets, comprising land, real estate projects, commercial projects, residential houses, a school, s cinema hall, balances in bank accounts and fixed deposits were attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA) in the cheating and fraud case.
     
    "Investigation revealed that movable and immovable properties have been illegally acquired in the name of various companies of SRS Group and family members of accused and being proceeds of crime, these assets totalling to Rs 2510.82 crores have been provisionally attached under PMLA. Further investigation in this case is under progress," the ED said.
     
    The ED initiated investigation by registering Enforcement Case Information Report (ECIR) under the PMLA on the basis of First Information Reports (FIRs) on charges of cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery under the Indian Penal Code registered at various police stations in Haryana's Faridabad and charge sheets filed by Haryana Police.
     
    Further, an additional FIR was also received from Economic Offence Wing, New Delhi in the instant case, the ED said. 
     
    During investigations, ED said it was found that accused Anil Jindal, Jitender Kumar Garg and Praveen Kumar Kapoor were the key promoters of SRS Group that has over 300 subsidiaries. 
     
    Jindal, who is the Chairman and Managing Director of SRS Group, is in jail on charges of cheating and fraud.
     
    "They, along with other accomplices and associates, hatched a criminal conspiracy and have lured investments from several individuals and institutions on fake promises of high returns in the guise of investments in real estate units like shops, plots, flats, SCOs, apartments," the ED said. 
     
    These funds and investments were later siphoned off into group companies through various shell companies of the SRS Group having dummy directors who were mainly SRS Group employees, said the ED, adding further they presented fake and fabricated balance sheets in order to enhance their turn-over and balance sheets.
     
    "They kept investors in dark by not giving investors specific investment plans. To sustain their illegal investment schemes, they further availed loans which were used for repayments and to develop their other projects. These schemes of investment were not prudent financial structure but only proved their mens rea and culpability and with no intention of repaying the amount invested." 
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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    COMMENTS

    Deepak Narain

    3 weeks ago

    It is the fault of lenders.

    Fugitive don Ejaz Lakdawala nabbed in Patna
    Notorious mafia don Ejaz Lakdawala, who was absconding for over two decades, has been arrested by a Mumbai Police team in Patna, official sources said here on Thursday.
     
    Lakdawala, who was associated alternatively with the gangs of rival mafia dons Dawood Ibrahim and Rajendra Nikhalje, alias Chhota Rajan, had an Interpol red corner notice pending against him.
     
    "Lakdawala was a part of the Dawood gang. He might help us get important information about him," Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Santosh Rastogi told the media after the big catch.
     
    The fugitive gangster has been slapped with over 25 major cases from more than 80 complaints of extortion, attempt to murder, kidnapping, and killings, among others.
     
    "He used to call from international numbers and issue threatening extortion calls to various people. The Crime Branch was tracking him since many days," Rastogi said.
     
    A breakthrough of sorts was achieved recently when the Mumbai Police nabbed Lakdawala's daughter, Shifa Shahid Shaikh, alias Sonia, in a fake passport case on December 28.
     
    She had acquired a passport by submitting fake documents and was planning to flee to Nepal along with her one-year-old daughter, but was arrested from Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport.
     
    Sonia's interrogation revealed the probable whereabouts of Lakdawala in Nepal and north India. After verifying the information, a Mumbai Police team rushed to nab him from the jurisdiction of Jakkanur Police Station in Patna (Bihar) late on Wednesday.
     
    He was brought to Mumbai and produced before a magistrate at Esplanade Court and has been remanded to custody till January 21.
     
    Originally, belonging to the 'D-Company' in the 1980s, around 1992 Lakdawala parted company with Dawood to align with his arch rival Chhota Rajan and worked with him for over 18 years.
     
    Later, however, owing to some disputes over financial matters, Lakdawala broke off with Chhota Rajan and operated independently from 2001 onwards.
     
    Apparently sensing an opportunity for sweet revenge, Dawood's close aide Chhota Shakeel had ordered a gangland hit on Lakdawala in Bangkok in 2002.
     
    In that attack in a Bangkok market, he sustained seven bullet injuries, but survived, and shifted to Canada where he was arrested in 2004 on an Interpol notice.
     
    Incidentally, the attack on Lakdawala came barely two years after his former boss, Chhota Rajan was also attacked in a hotel in Bangkok, but he too managed to escape and survive. After his extradition from Indonesia to India in November 2015, Rajan is presently in jail and facing trial in various cases.
     
    Lakdawala also hatched a plot to kill Dawood in Karachi but the plan failed as Dawood did not turn up.
     
    After the failed attempt on his life in Bangkok, Lakdawala went on the run and virtually became a globetrotter with operations in Canada (where he was arrested once), UK, US, Malaysia, Cambodia, Nepal and other countries.
     
    He is reported to have amassed huge properties in Malaysia, London and Canada which the Mumbai Police will investigate separately.
     
    Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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