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Will disclose details on electoral bonds data 'in time': Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar

As per the Supreme Court's direction, the State Bank of India (SBI) has made available the details of electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India before the close of business hours on March 12.

Edited By: Arushi Jaiswal @JaiswalArushi New Delhi Published on: March 14, 2024 6:52 IST
Electoral Bonds, Electoral Bonds data
Image Source : PTI Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar

Electoral Bonds: Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Wednesday (March 13) said the Election Commission of India (EC) has received data on the electoral bonds and the poll body will share the data "in time". According to the Supreme Court order, the Election Commission will have to publish the details shared by the bank on its official website by 5 pm on March 15.

The State Bank of India (SBI)  was directed by the Supreme Court to submit the data by March 12. 

When will Election Commission disclose electoral bonds data?

Speaking to reporters at the end of his visit to Jammu and Kashmir, Kumar asserted that the commission believed in complete transparency. "The SBI was supposed to submit the data by March 12. They have given us the details in time. I will go back and look at the data (and) would definitely disclose it in time," Kumar said.

Kumar, who concluded his nationwide tours prior to the announcement of the Lok Sabha election schedule, was questioned about whether the Election Commission would release information regarding the electoral bonds acquired since April 12, 2019, in compliance with the Supreme Court's directive.

He said that the commission strongly advocates for "disclosure, disclosure, and disclosure" as it is essential for maintaining elevated levels of transparency.

SBI submitted details of electoral bonds 

On Tuesday evening, the State Bank of India (SBI) submitted a report containing the names of entities that bought the now-scrapped electoral bonds and the political parties that utilized them. Since the inception of the scheme in 2018, the SBI has issued electoral bonds totalling Rs 16,518 crore over 30 transactions.

According to the submission made to the Supreme Court, political parties purchased a total of 22,217 electoral bonds between April 1, 2019, and February 15, 2024, out of which 22,030 have been redeemed. The SBI provided detailed information including the purchase date, purchaser names, and bond denominations.

The affidavit, filed by SBI's chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara, also stated that the bank shared information with the Election Commission regarding the date of bond encashment, the receiving political parties, and bond denominations.

During the period from April 1, 2019, to April 11, 2019, a total of 3,346 electoral bonds were purchased, out of which 1,609 were redeemed. From April 12, 2019, to February 15, 2024, a total of 18,871 electoral bonds were purchased, with 20,421 being redeemed.

Landmark verdict on electoral bonds

In a landmark verdict delivered on February 15, a five-judge constitution bench scrapped the Centre's electoral bonds scheme that allowed anonymous political funding, calling it "unconstitutional" and ordered disclosure by the Election Commission of the donors, the amount donated by them, and the recipients by March 13.

The top court subsequently directed the SBI, the authorised financial institution under the scheme, to submit by March 6 the details of the electoral bonds purchased from April 12, 2019, till date to the Election Commission, which was asked to publish the information on its official website by March 13.

(With PTI inputs)

Also Read: Total of 22,217 electoral bonds purchased from 2019 to 2024: SBI to SC

Also Read: Supreme Court dismisses SBI's plea, directs to disclose details of electoral bonds by tomorrow

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