Electoral bonds data: billionaire tycoons to lesser-known entities among buyers

Following a Supreme Court directive, SBI, the authorised seller of the bonds, shared data with the Election Commission on 12 March

File image of a Youth Congress protest against electoral bonds in Kolkata in February 2024
File image of a Youth Congress protest against electoral bonds in Kolkata in February 2024


From steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal to billionaire Sunil Bharti Mittal's Airtel, Anil Agarwal's Vedanta, ITC, Mahindra and Mahindra, and a lesser-known Future Gaming and Hotel Services were among the prominent buyers of the now-scrapped electoral bonds for making political donations.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) put up on its website the data on electoral bonds on Thursday, a day ahead of the Supreme Court-fixed deadline.

Future Gaming, which was probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in March 2022, bought electoral bonds worth over Rs 1,350 crore under two different sets of companies.

Among the known corporates, Agarwal's Vedanta Ltd bought Rs 398 crore worth of bonds, while Sunil Mittal's three companies together purchased a total of Rs 246 crore worth of bonds.

Steel magnate Lakshmi Niwas Mittal bought Rs 35 crore worth of bonds in his individual capacity. Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering, which has bagged contracts of several large infrastructure projects, bought bonds worth Rs 966 crore.

While most of the bonds were issued in the name of political parties, the donations made to the Congress and the Samajwadi Party were in the name of 'President, All India Congress Committee' and 'Adhyaksha Samajwadi Party'.

Following a Supreme Court directive, the State Bank of India (SBI), which was the authorised seller of electoral bonds, had shared the data with the poll panel on 12 March. The top court had given the ECI time until 5.00 pm of 15 March to upload the data on its website.

The ECI has put the details on 'Disclosure of Electoral Bonds Submitted by SBI' in two parts — one listing the buyers and the other listing the beneficiary parties.

In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the SBI said a total of 22,217 electoral bonds of varying denominations were purchased by donors between 1 April 2019 and 15 February this year, of which 22,030 were redeemed by political parties.

According to the data uploaded by the poll panel, buyers included SpiceJet, IndiGo, Grasim Industries, Megha Engineering, Piramal Enterprises, Torrent Power, Bharti Airtel, DLF Commercial Developers, Vedanta Ltd., Apollo Tyres, Edelweiss, PVR, Keventer, Sula Wines, Welspun, Sun Pharma, Vardhman Textiles, Jindal Group, Phillips Carbon Black Limited, CEAT tyres, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, ITC, Kaypee Enterprises, Cipla, and Ultratech Cement.

The parties that redeemed the electoral bonds include the BJP, Congress, AIADMK, BRS, Shiv Sena, TDP, YSR Congress, DMK, JD-S, NCP, Trinamool Congress, JDU, RJD, AAP, the Samajwadi Party, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, BJD, Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, JMM, Sikkim Democratic Front, and the Jana Sena Party.

In a landmark verdict delivered on 15 February, a five-judge Constitution bench scrapped the Centre's electoral bonds scheme that allowed anonymous political funding, calling it "unconstitutional", and ordered disclosure by the EC of donors, the amount donated by them, and the recipients.

Besides Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, individuals who donated through electoral bonds include Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Varun Gupta, B.K. Goenka, Jainendra Shah, and one individual going by only the first name of Monika.

Ghaziabad-based Yashoda Super Specialty Hospital purchased 162 bonds, mostly of Rs 1 crore each. Bajaj Auto bought bonds worth Rs 18 crore, Bajaj Finance Rs 20 crore, three IndiGo firms Rs 36 crore, SpiceJet Rs 65 lakh, and Rahul Bhatia of IndiGo bought bonds worth Rs 20 crore. Mumbai-based Qwik Supply Chain Pvt Ltd bought bonds worth Rs 410 crore and Haldia Energy Rs 377 crore.

According to a report by the Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), a total of 28,030 electoral bonds worth Rs 16,518 crore have been sold from March 2018 to January 2024.

The BJP has received the highest contributions through the electoral bonds in this period, amounting to Rs 6,566 crore or 54.77 per cent, followed by the Congress with Rs 1,123 crore or 9.37 per cent, and Trinamool Congress Rs 1,092 crore or 9.11 per cent, it had revealed.

Follow us on: Facebook, Twitter, Google News, Instagram 

Join our official telegram channel (@nationalherald) and stay updated with the latest headlines