Went to court against electoral bonds, didn't accept a penny: CPI(M)

Party leader says some media houses "deliberately trying to mislead people", claiming nobody bought electoral bonds of CPI(M), CPI

CJI D.Y. Chandrachud (left) reacts during a hearing on electoral bonds in New Delhi on 15 March (photo: PTI)
CJI D.Y. Chandrachud (left) reacts during a hearing on electoral bonds in New Delhi on 15 March (photo: PTI)


Electoral bonds have enabled the largest political corruption case ever reported in India, with Santiago Martin's company symbolising corruption and facing numerous probes, being the biggest donor, Kerala state secretary of the ruling CPI(M) M.V. Govindan said on Friday.

Addressing a press conference, Govindan said several thousands of crores have been amassed by the BJP and some other parties through electoral bonds. "More than half of the bonds have been secured by the BJP. As per the details given by SBI (State Bank of India), the BJP alone has received Rs 6060.51 crore," Govindan said.

He accused the BJP-led Central government of trying to spread corruption in the country. "The money collected through electoral bonds is used by the BJP for purchasing MLAs, destabilising governments, and attracting more people to the saffron party. It is corruption all around, and they pompously claim that their hands are clean," the CPI(M) leader alleged.

Pointing out that the Left parties, CPI(M) and CPI, chose not to accept electoral bonds, and the CPI(M), in fact, went to court against the opaque political funding scheme, Govindan said some media houses have been "deliberately trying to mislead people", claiming that nobody purchased electoral bonds of the two parties.

"The Left parties made the decision that electoral bonds were unconstitutional, and we would not accept a penny from them. We did not register with the SBI, and our leader Sitaram Yechury went to court against electoral bonds," he said.

His statement comes a day after the Election Commission posted the data on electoral bonds on its website.

The CPI(M) had moved the apex court in February 2018, saying the electoral bond scheme "undermines democracy" and would "lead to greater political corruption". The Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Dr Jaya Thakur of the Congress party were the others who approached the SC against electoral bonds.

In its landmark verdict on 15 February, the Supreme Court 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 by 13 March.

The CPI(M) polit bureau welcomed the Supreme Court's order to the SBI to share the alpha numeric codes of electoral bonds, claiming the move means there have been efforts to undermine the top court's verdict.

The polit bureau in a statement said while it will take some time to understand the full impact of the data, preliminary analysis shows both "quid pro quo" and use of agencies like ED to "extort funds" from corporates through electoral bonds.

"The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) welcomes the further direction of the Supreme Court to the State Bank of India for making the alphanumeric code of electoral bonds available towards disclosure of contributor recipient identity. This underlines the fact that there are efforts to undermine the verdict of the Supreme Court on making funding to political parties more transparent for citizens," the CPI(M) said in a statement.

The Supreme Court on Friday said the SBI is "duty bound" and has to disclose the unique alpha numeric numbers of the electoral bonds received by political parties.

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