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Electoral Bonds: Of Donations From Top Firms Raided by Agencies, BJP Got 30%

TMC, DMK, and BRS also received huge sums of money from firms which were being probed investigative agencies.

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An analysis of fresh data on electoral bonds released by the Election Commission of India (ECI), suggests that out of Rs 4,077 crore donated by top 10 donors being probed by investigative agencies, Rs 1,386 crore went to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) alone. Among other beneficiaries were the Trinamool Congress (TMC) which got Rs 954 crore, and the DMK which got 563 crore.

This pattern emerged in a third set of data released by the EC on Thursday, 21 March. This data contained a unique bond number to match companies which purchased electoral bonds with the recipient parties.

Mentioned below is a party-wise breakup of electoral bonds received from donor firms being probed by investigative agencies:

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  • Future Gaming and Hotel Services: Out of a total of Rs 1368 crore donated by the firm, Rs 542 crore went to the TMC whereas the DMK emerged as the second biggest recipient of funds from the firm. Other two big beneficiaries were the YSR Congress Party which received Rs 154 crore, and the BJP which got Rs 100 crore. In 2022, Enforcement Directorate (ED) attached assets of the company and its various sub-distributors worth over Rs 409 crore in a money laundering case.

  • Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited: In October 2019, the Income Tax department carried out raids at multiple offices of Telugu tycoon Krishna Reddy’s Megha Engineering Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) in Hyderabad and other cities. The BJP received a mammoth Rs 669 crore from the company and its related firms which include Western UP Power Transmission Company and SEPC Power Private Limited. The Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), DMK, and YSRCP also received Rs 150 crore, 60 crore, and 37 crore from the company which purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 966 crore.

  • Haldia Energy Limited: The firm and its related company (Dhariwal Infrastructure Limited) donated Rs 532 crore in electoral bonds. It faced action by the Central Bureau of Investigation in March 2020. Out of the total bonds purchased by the company, those worth Rs 370 crore, went to the TMC. BJP and Congress got Rs 124 crore and 15 crore each.

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  • Vedanta Limited: A Vedanta Group company Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd (TSPL) was raided by the ED in connection with a money laundering probe in August 2022. The group has collectively donated Rs 402 crore in electoral bonds. Of this, the BJP received Rs 230 crore, Rs 125 crore went to Congress, and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) got Rs 40 crore.

  • DLF Commercial Developers Limited: The realty developer group donated Rs 170 crore in electoral bonds, all of which went to the BJP. It was raided by CBI officials in January 2019 over alleged irregularities in allocation of land. Again, in November 2023, the ED searched its Gurugram offices in connection with an investigation against real estate firm Supertech.

  • Yashoda Superspeciality Hospital: The corporate hospital chain was raided by Income Tax (IT) officials in December 2020. It donated Rs 162 crore in electoral bonds in October 2021. Most of this money went to the BRS which received Rs 94 crore and the Congress which got Rs 64 crore.

  • Jindal Steel and Power Limited: In April 2022, ED searched premises of JSPL in connection with a probe linked to alleged violation of foreign exchange regulations. The company donated a total of Rs 195.5 crore in electoral bonds. The BJD received Rs 130 crore from the group, while 42 crore went to the BJP, and Congress got Rs 23 crore.

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  • Chennai Greenwoods Private Limited: Construction firm Chennai Greenwoods Private Limited was raided by Income Tax officials in July 2021. In January 2022, it donated Rs 105 crore in electoral bonds. The BRS for Rs 50 crore, 40 crore went to the TMC, and Congress got Rs 15 crore.

  • Dr Reddy's Laboratories Limited: The company purchased bonds worth Rs 84 crore. Of this Rs 32 crore went to BRS and Rs 25 crore went to BJP. In November 2023, IT officials conducted raids on Dr K Nagender Reddy of Dr Reddy's Laboratories over allegations of tax evasion. This was part of a larger operation involving searches at the premises of Telangana Education Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy. 

  • IFB Agro Limited: In June 2020, IFB Agro, one of India’s biggest distiller and spirit-makers, alleged that the Kolkata Zonal Unit of the Directorate General of Goods and Services Tax Intelligences (DGGST) raided the company's Noorpur plant. In 2023, a senior company executive claimed that it donated Rs 40 crore in electoral bonds 'as per our instructions from the government.' As per data released by the EC, IBF Agro has donated a total of Rs 92 crore in electoral bonds. Of this Rs 42 crore went to TMC and RJD for Rs 35 crore. The company was in the eye of a storm when its Noorpur plant was attacked in 2020. The then West Bengal governor Jagdeep Dhankhar had stepped in and told the TMC government to create a conducive climate for investment in the state.

(With inputs from Abhilash Mallick.)

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