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New Electoral Bonds Data That Was Earlier in Sealed Cover, Made Public by ECI

This is the first time electoral bonds data preceding April 2019 has also been made publicly available.

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The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Sunday, 17 March, published data regarding electoral bonds that was submitted by political parties to the Supreme Court under sealed cover.

While the poll body had initially published data pertaining to electoral bonds issued from 12 April 2019 to 15 February 2024, this is the first time that electoral bonds data from the preceding period has also been made publicly available.

As per the data, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received a total of Rs 210 crore worth of electoral bonds in FY2017-2018, and received a total of Rs 1,450 crore worth of electoral bonds in FY2018-2019.

Furthermore, the BJP received a total of Rs 530 crore worth of bonds between 3 April 2019 to 12 April 2019. Hence, the total amount of electoral bonds received by the Modi-led party between 2018-2019 is over Rs 2,190 crore, as per the latest data.

Overall, the BJP received Rs 8,250 crore or roughly 50 percent of the total 16,518 crore worth of electoral bonds that have issued in the past six years (i.e. from 2018 to 2024).

The BJP did not reveal the names of donors in its sealed cover disclosure to the Supreme Court. However, some parties like the DMK, AIADMK, and JD(S) revealed the names of the persons and organisations from which they received electoral bonds.

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Why Wasn't This Pre-2019 Data Released Earlier?

Back in April 2019, the Supreme Court had issued an interim order directing all political parties to disclose the details of donations received through electoral bonds to the Election Commission in sealed envelopes.

Cut to 2024: Besides making the electoral bonds data public by 15 March, the Election Commission was also directed by the Supreme Court to publish the sealed cover data as well.

However, the Election Commission said that it had not retained any copies of the sealed envelopes and urged the apex court to return those documents so that it could make them public as per the court's directions.

"[...] the Registry of the Supreme Court has returned physical copies along with a digitised record of the same in a pen drive in sealed cover," the ECI said in its official press release on Sunday.

As per reports, the State Bank of India has issued 28,030 bonds worth Rs 16,518 crore since March 2018.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Electoral Bonds 

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