In a sensational revelation, Huffington Post India has claimed that the Modi government not only scrapped a provision of a law pertaining to political funding by corporate houses but also bypassed Rajya Sabha to pass the controversial electoral bonds scheme.
The Huff Post report, based on an RTI reply, has claimed that the Ministry of Law and Justice had flagged the issue, calling the scheme “illegal and unconstitutional”, but was eventually signed off on the Modi government.
Not only this, as per the report, the Modi government has allowed corporate houses to secretly funnel money into politics and tried to cover the trail of the money by refusing to record minutes of official deliberations in the meetings, as mandated by the SC.
Pinpointing the role of the then finance minister Arun Jaitley in bypassing the Rajya Sabha, the report reads, “(Jaitley) bypassed the Rajya Sabha by slipping the most contentious aspects of the scheme into a money bill. Under Article 110 of the Indian Constitution, a money bill does not have to be passed by the Rajya Sabha.”
It is important to mention here that it was Jaitley who introduced the electoral bonds scheme.
The report says that the most controversial change made by the Modi government was scrapping a provision in the Companies Act which permitted only profit-making companies to donate money to a political party.
“The provision had also put a cap on the donations that companies could make annually and forced them to disclose to which party they were donating money,” says report. By scrapping the provision, government made it possible to donate unlimited fund that too without disclosing their identity.
According to the report, the law ministry urged the Modi government to “avoid considering this practice as a precedent” but the government did not pay any heed to the suggestion.
It may be recalled that the website had earlier carried reports pointing out how the government did not pay any heed to objections to the scheme by the RBI and the Election Commission.