Modi govt using SBI to hide ‘dubious dealings’: Kharge

Seeking an extension of the deadline till June 30, the SBI claimed that no central database was maintained

Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge (Photo: NH file photo)
Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge (Photo: NH file photo)

NH Political Bureau

A day after the State Bank of India (SBI) requested more time to publish data related to the sale of electoral bonds, following a Supreme Court judgment, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge accused the Modi government of using the country's largest bank as a shield to conceal its dubious dealings. 

"The tenure of this Lok Sabha will end on 16th June, and SBI wants to share the data by 30th June. The BJP is the main beneficiary of this fraudulent scheme," Kharge wrote on X.

Kharge questioned why SBI needs an additional 3 months to collate information when 44,434 automated data entries of donors can be divulged and matched in just 24 hours. He suggested that the Modi government might be conveniently hiding BJP’s questionable dealings, such as handing over contracts for highways, ports, airports, power plants, etc., to Modi ji’s cronies in exchange for these opaque electoral bonds.

Reiterating Congress's stance on the Electoral Bonds scheme as "opaque and undemocratic," Kharge accused the Modi government, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), and the Finance Minister of bulldozing institutions such as the RBI, Election Commission, Parliament, and the Opposition to fill BJP's coffers.

He claimed that a desperate Modi government, clutching at straws, is trying to use SBI to bulldoze the Supreme Court's judgment.

The State Bank of India, on Monday, moved the Supreme Court seeking an extension of the deadline for disclosing details of electoral bonds encashed by political parties. The SBI requested time until June 30, explaining that the data related to the issuance and redemption of the bonds were kept recorded in two different silos to protect donors' anonymity.

“It 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,” the bank said.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury stated that if SBI does not comply, it would be contempt of court. He insisted that the SBI must transfer all details to the Election Commission by tomorrow.

"This would be a travesty of justice. Is SBI seeking an extension till after the general elections to protect Modi and BJP from exposure of the 'quid pro quo' that the Hon’ble Supreme Court apprehended?" Yechury wrote on X.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation, General Secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya called the SBI plea "mischievous."

 "The mischievous SBI prayer to the Supreme Court seeking to defer the disclosure of the Electoral Bond details to the EC till after the 2024 polls is nothing but outright contempt of the SC. The regime is afraid of the data exposing #ModiKaAsliParivar comprising his corporate cronies," Dipankar wrote on X.

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