30 companies donated Rs 335 Cr to BJP: KC Venugopal writes to Sitharaman, demands investigation

The demand follows revelations of central agency actions against BJP donors, raising concerns about agency impartiality and political interference

K.C. Venugopal's letter also challenges the Finance Minister to address specific questions regarding BJP's finances  (photo: National Herald archives)
K.C. Venugopal's letter also challenges the Finance Minister to address specific questions regarding BJP's finances (photo: National Herald archives)

NH Political Bureau

In a significant development, KC Venugopal, the general secretary of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), has penned a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, urging a thorough investigation into allegations of quid-pro-quo between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its donors.

The letter comes in the wake of revelations that at least 30 companies, contributing a total of nearly Rs 335 crore to the BJP between financial years 2018-19 and 2022-23, were subjects of actions by central investigative agencies during the same period.

The explosive revelations were brought to light by an in-depth investigative report published by online publications Newslaundry and The News Minute.

The report highlights a suspicious correlation between donations to the BJP and subsequent actions taken by agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax Department (IT), and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against the donating companies. 

The report is supported by various Election Commission documents related to donations and robust evidence, raising serious concerns about the institutional independence, autonomy, and professionalism of key central agencies--IT, ED, and CBI.

Notably, two out of these three agencies fall under the jurisdiction of the Finance Ministry.

The Congress leader, in his letter, questions the apparent sequence of events where companies, targeted by the investigative agencies, later contributed significant sums to the BJP.

This pattern, as outlined in the news report, suggests a possible quid-pro-quo arrangement.

Venugopal in his letter also emphasised that these revelations cast a shadow on the impartiality of central agencies, signaling potential interference or manipulation for political gains.

It underscores the need for a comprehensive inquiry to ensure the transparency, credibility, and fairness of these crucial institutions.

The statistics cited in the letter, indicating a four-fold increase in ED cases against politicians since 2014 with 95% targeting opposition leaders, raise concerns about the misuse of investigative powers for political purposes. Demanding investigation, Venugopal also accused that:

  • Of these firms, 23 companies, which gave a total of Rs 187.58 crore to the party during this period, had never donated any amount to the BJP between 2014 and the year of the raid

  • At least four of these companies donated a total of Rs 9.05 crore within four months of the central agency visit

  • At least six of these firms, which were already donors to the BJP, handed out a heftier amount in the months following the searches

  • Six other firms, which had donated to the BJP each year before, faced central action after they skipped donations in one financial year

  • At least three BJP donors, who are not part of the list of 30, had been accused of receiving undue favours from the Modi government

As the controversy unfolds, the demand for an impartial investigation is likely to intensify, with political observers closely monitoring developments that could have far-reaching implications on the credibility of India's investigative agencies and the political landscape.

Challenging Modi government to have an open debate on the issue, the Congress leader further asked: -

1. Would you [Finance Minister] come up with a “White Paper” on BJP’s finances, not just the sources, but how you coerced corporate firms to donate, by misusing investigative agencies against them?

2. If you have nothing to hide, then are you willing to present a point-by-point rebuttal on the ‘Chronology’ of events which led to the filling of BJP’s treasury?

3. If you are unwilling to come up with a factual explanation, then are you willing to present yourself for a Supreme Court monitored investigation in these dubious deals to loot donation for the BJP?

"The nation is witnessing how you are destroying Democracy by giving Income Tax notices to the Indian National Congress on frivolous charges and coercing nationalised banks under the Finance Ministry, to extort money from us. This is nothing but a conspiracy to destroy a level playing field in a Democracy, just on the eve of elections," wrote Venugopal in his letter.

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