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41 companies facing probe by central agencies gave Rs 2,471 crore to BJP through electoral bonds: Petitioners
3/22/2024 10:50:10 PM
Agencies
NEW DELHI, Mar 22: Forty-one companies facing probe by the CBI, ED and the I-T Department gave Rs 2,471 crore to the BJP through electoral bonds, and Rs 1,698 crore of it was donated after raids by these agencies, civil society activists who challenged the poll funding scheme in the Supreme Court claimed on Friday.
Addressing the media after the Election Commission made public a fresh data set of electoral bonds, senior advocate Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the petitioners in the court, said at least 30 shell companies purchased electoral bonds worth over Rs 143 crore.
He said 33 groups which have got 172 major contracts and project approvals from the government also made donations through electoral bonds.
"They have got a total of Rs 3.7 lakh crore in projects and contracts, in exchange for Rs 1,751 crore electoral bond donations to the BJP," he alleged.
Bhushan also claimed that 41 companies which faced raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Income Tax Department gave Rs 2,471 crore to the BJP, and Rs 1,698 crore of it was given after these raids and Rs 121 crore was given in the three months immediately after the raids.
In at least 49 cases, Bhushan alleged, Rs 62,000 crore in postpaid contracts/project approvals were given by the Centre or BJP-led state governments, for which Rs 580 crore in "kickbacks" in the form of electoral bonds were given to the BJP within three months.
Bhushan claimed Kalpataru Group gave Rs 5.5 crore to the BJP within three months of an I-T Department raid on it on August 3 last year.
"Future Gaming gave Rs 60 crore to the BJP within three months of I-T and ED raids on November 12, 2023 and December 1, 2021 respectively. Aurobindo Pharma gave Rs 5 crore to the BJP within three months of ED raid on November 10, 2022," he added.
Calling the electoral bonds scheme the biggest scam of Independent India, Bhushan alleged four categories of corruption was done through it.
"The first is chanda do, dhanda lo (give donation and get business), the second is hafta-vasuli (extortion), the third is theka lo, rishwat do (bag contract, give bribe), and farzi company," he said.
Another petitioner, Jagdeep Chhokar, Founder Member and Trustee of poll rights NGO Association of Democratic Reforms, said data that has come out after the Supreme court verdict is "just the tip of the iceberg".
"No one can say after the verdict that the corporate-political nexus does not exist in the country," he said. RTI activist Anjali Bhardwaj, also a petitioner in the case, demanded an independent probe into the matter.
"Who will investigate the investigator? An independent SIT should for formed to look into the corruption through electoral bonds," she said.
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