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Electoral bonds worth Rs 3,622 crore sold in March-Apri

In a response provided to Pune-based Vihar Durve, the SBI said electoral bonds of Rs 1365.69 crore were sold in March, which shot up by 65.21 per cent in April to Rs 2256.37 crore.

business Updated: May 10, 2019 23:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
New Delhi
SBI,State Bank of India,bonds
The State Bank of India has sold electoral bonds worth over Rs 3,622 crore in March and April this year, an RTI response has said.(REUTERS)

Electoral bonds worth ₹3,622 crore were sold during March and April in the run-up to and overlapping with four rounds of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections, State Bank of India (SBI) said in response to an application filed under the Right to Information Act. The bank said total sales of the bonds amounted to ₹1,056.78 crore in 2018.

Mumbai tops the list of the cities where the maximum sale of electoral bonds was registered, according to the RTI response to Pune-based Vihar Durve.

SBI, which is authorised to sell these electoral bonds, reported that in March this year it sold bonds worth ₹1,365.69 crore, which later shot up by 65.21% in April to ₹2,256.37 crore.

These were introduced after changes in Finance Act 2017; related amendments were made to I-T Act, RBI Act, and Representation of the People Act.

Union finance minister Arun Jaitley introduced the electoral bonds as a means of donation to political parties in his budget speech in 2017.

The instrument would ensure more transparency in electoral funding, he said.

According to SBI, in April, the most electoral bonds were sold in Mumbai at ₹694 crore, followed by ₹417.31 crore in Kolkata, ₹408.62 crore in New Delhi and ₹338.07 crore in Hyderabad.

The scheme of electoral bonds, notified by the Centre in 2018, has been challenged in Supreme Court by Association for Democratic Reforms, non-government research organisation. “The fact that the highest sale of bonds was in the business and commercial capital of the country [Mumbai] shows that the electoral bonds have become the main conduit of money (exchange) between corporates and the political parties..,” said Jagdeep Chhokar, founder of ADR.

First Published: May 10, 2019 18:39 IST