‘Narendra Modi has...’: Congress links SBI electoral bond move to LS polls | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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‘Narendra Modi has...’: Congress links SBI electoral bond move to Lok Sabha polls

Mar 05, 2024 02:00 PM IST

Mallikarjun Kharge called the electoral bonds scheme opaque and undemocratic. He said the BJP government is using the bank as a shield.

New Delhi: Reacting to the State Bank of India's plea before the Supreme Court seeking more time to disclose electoral bonds' details, Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government of using the bank to hide its alleged "dubious dealing".

RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi join hands during the RJD's 'Jan Vishwas Maha Rally', at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Sunday.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge and party leader Rahul Gandhi join hands during the RJD's 'Jan Vishwas Maha Rally', at Gandhi Maidan in Patna on Sunday.

Weeks after the Supreme Court ordered India's largest bank to disclose the details of bonds encashed by political parties, the SBI moved the apex court and sought an extension of the deadline till June 30.

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The court had ordered the bank to furnish the details by March 6.

Mallikarjun Kharge called the electoral bonds scheme opaque and undemocratic. He said the BJP government is using the bank as a shield.

"The Modi government is using the largest bank of our country as a shield to hide its dubious dealings through Electoral Bonds," he said.

Kharge said the BJP wants the SBI to share the details after June 30, by when the Lok Sabha elections would be over.

Also read: Last attempt to hide Modi's ‘real face’: Rahul Gandhi slams SBI move on electoral bonds

"But the BJP wants it to be done after Lok Sabha elections. The tenure of this Lok Sabha will end on 16th June and SBI wants to share the data by 30th June," Kharge said.

He claimed the BJP was the biggest beneficiary of the scheme.

"Isn't the government conveniently hiding the BJP's shady dealings where contracts of highways, ports, airports, power plants etc. were handed over to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's cronies in lieu of these opaque electoral bonds," he asked.

"Experts say that the 44,434 automated data entries of donors can be divulged and matched in just 24 hours. Why does the SBI then need 4 more months to collate this information?" he said.

"Congress party was crystal clear that the Electoral Bonds scheme was opaque, undemocratic and destroyed the level playing field. But the Modi government, PMO and FM bulldozed every institution - RBI, Election Commission, Parliament and Opposition to fill BJP's coffers," Kharge alleged.

Kharge said the Modi government is trying to use SBI to bulldoze the Supreme Court's judgement.

Also read: Supreme Court calls electoral bonds 'quid pro quo', asks SBI to stop issuing them ‘immediately’

Congress MP Manish Tewari said the Supreme Court should not allow the SBI to "get away with its chicanery on Electoral Bonds".

"People before the General Elections must know who got what from whom & whether there was any prima-facie quid pro quo involved?" he said.

On Monday, in a post on X, Rahul Gandhi had said: "Narendra Modi has put his entire force in order to hide the 'donation business'."

"When the Supreme Court has stated that it is the right of the people of the country to know the truth about electoral bonds, then why does the SBI not want this information to be made public before the elections?" he added.

SBI, in its plea, said the donations were kept anonymous and retrieving the information was a time-consuming exercise.

"It is submitted that the data related to the issuance of the bond and the data related to the redemption of the bond was kept recorded in two different silos. No central database was maintained. This was done to ensure that donors' anonymity would be protected," it said.

Last month, the Supreme Court said the scheme violates the right to information and the right to freedom of speech and expression.

With inputs from PTI

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