About Rs 1,407.09 crore of the Rs 5,851.41 crore worth of electoral bonds were purchased by anonymous donors between March 1, 2018 and Jan. 24, 2019. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Electoral Bonds Worth Over Rs 5,800 Crore Bought In Over 14 Months, SBI Says

Electoral bonds worth over Rs 5,800 crore were bought by donors to fund political parties between March 1, 2018, and May 10, 2019, a Right to Information reply has said.

As much as 76 percent of these electoral bonds, worth Rs 4,444.32 crore, were bought in the last three tranches between March 1 and May 10 this year at the height of 2019 Lok Sabha elections, State Bank of India says in the RTI reply.

According to the union government's Electoral Bond Scheme 2018, only 29 branches of SBI were authorised to issue and encash these bonds in ten phases.

About Rs 1,407.09 crore of the Rs 5,851.41 crore worth of these electoral bonds were purchased by anonymous donors between March 1 2018 and Jan. 24, 2019, the RTI reply showed.

The RTI was filed by a Neemuch-based activist Chandrashekhar Goud.

The bonds are valued at Rs 1000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore.

Also read: Why Electoral Bonds Are Unconstitutional

According to provisions of the scheme, electoral bonds may be received by political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, and those which have secured not less than 1 percent of the votes polled in the last general of state elections.

The Supreme Court, which is hearing a petition against electoral bonds, had in April directed all political parties to furnish receipts of funding received through electoral bonds and details of identity of donors in a sealed cover to the Election Commission.

The Centre contends electoral bonds are an attempt at bringing greater transparency, ensuring KYC compliance and keeping an audit trail in comparison to the earlier opaque system of cash donations.

Bloomberg Quint

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