Political parties redeem 22,030 out of 22,217 electoral bonds purchased between April 1, 2019, and February 15, 2024; SBI Electoral Bonds

SBI releases Electoral Bonds on the order of the Supreme Court.

The SBI Tuesday submitted the details of electoral bonds in a digital format to the Election Commission.

On Wednesday, Dinesh Kumar Khara, the Chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI), submitted a compliance affidavit to the Supreme Court regarding the electoral bonds issue. The affidavit confirms that SBI has furnished details concerning the purchase and redemption of electoral bonds to the Election Commission between April 14, 2019, and February 15, 2024, as per the court’s directives.

The affidavit outlines the provided information, which encompasses the purchase dates, purchaser identities, bond denominations, redemption dates, and the recipient political parties’ names. It highlights that a total of 22,217 electoral bonds were bought and 22,030 were redeemed during the period spanning from April 1, 2019, to February 15, 2024. Additionally, between April 1, 2019, and April 11, 2019, ahead of the commencement of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, 3,346 electoral bonds were purchased, out of which 1,609 were redeemed.

During the period from April 12, 2019, to February 15, 2024, an additional 18,871 electoral bonds were purchased, with 20,421 of them being redeemed, as indicated.

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On Tuesday, the State Bank of India (SBI) submitted the electoral bond details to the Election Commission (EC) in digital format. As previously reported by The Indian Express, officials within the Commission will scrutinize this data upon the return of Chief Election Commissioner Rajeev Kumar from Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday night. It is anticipated that the EC will make the information provided by SBI available on its website by March 15.

The Supreme Court, on Monday, denied the State Bank of India’s (SBI) request for an extension to furnish details regarding the purchasers of electoral bonds and the political parties redeeming them. Instead, the court instructed SBI to submit the data to the Election Commission by the end of business hours on Tuesday. Additionally, the court demanded an affidavit from the Chairman and Managing Director of SBI affirming compliance with its directives and warned of potential consequences if the bank failed to adhere to the specified timelines outlined in Monday’s order.

Furthermore, on February 15, the Supreme Court declared the electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional. Under this scheme, corporations and individuals could anonymously donate funds to political parties by purchasing electoral bonds from SBI, with the bank having exclusive access to the purchaser’s details.

The electoral bonds data was provided on a pen drive containing two password-protected PDF files, with the passwords supplied in a separate envelope.

Following the Supreme Court’s dismissal of its request for an extension until June 30, the State Bank of India (SBI) promptly submitted the details of electoral bonds to the Election Commission.

During the court proceedings, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, leading a five-judge bench, inquired about the actions taken by SBI in the past 26 days. The court noted that the bank’s application did not address this matter.

Also Read: https://khabarelahar.com/sbi-submits-electoral-bond-data-to-poll-panel/

The bench emphasized that the State Bank of India (SBI) only needed to open the sealed cover, compile the details, and provide the information to the Election Commission.

This directive to SBI was issued a month after the landmark verdict by the top court, which declared electoral bonds as ‘unconstitutional’ and ‘contrary to the right to information as per Article 19(1)(a)’.

The electoral bonds scheme was officially introduced by the Centre on January 2, 2018. It was presented as a substitute for cash contributions to political parties, aiming to enhance transparency in political funding. The initial issuance of electoral bonds occurred in March 2018.

According to the scheme, electoral bonds could only be redeemed by eligible political parties through a designated bank account with the authorized bank.

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