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  India   All India  14 Mar 2024  SBI: 22,217 electoral bonds purchased

SBI: 22,217 electoral bonds purchased

THE ASIAN AGE. | RAKESH K. SINGH
Published : Mar 14, 2024, 1:47 am IST
Updated : Mar 14, 2024, 1:47 am IST

The apex court had also directed the EC to publish the details shared by the bank on its official website by 5 pm on March 15

In its affidavit furnished to the apex court, the SBI said, as per the court's direction, it has made available the details of electoral bonds to the Election Commission (EC) before the close of business hours on March 12. (PTI)
 In its affidavit furnished to the apex court, the SBI said, as per the court's direction, it has made available the details of electoral bonds to the Election Commission (EC) before the close of business hours on March 12. (PTI)

NEW DELHI: In a seven-page compliance affidavit, the State Bank of India on Wednesday told the Supreme Court that a total of 22,217 electoral bonds were purchased and 22,030 redeemed by political parties between April 1, 2019 and February 15, this year, out of which 22,030 were redeemed.

In its affidavit furnished to the apex court, the SBI said, as per the court's direction, it has made available the details of electoral bonds to the Election Commission (EC) before the close of business hours on March 12.

“In compliance with the order of the Supreme Court, please find a sealed envelope containing the above details in two PDF files, one with details of the purchasers of the electoral bonds and the other file containing names of the political parties who have encashed these bonds with all the requisite details, as per the order...,” reads a letter from the SBI to the Election Commission, annexed with the affidavit, furnished to the poll panel at 4.15 PM on Tuesday.

The affidavit submitted before the top court said details, including the date of purchase of each electoral bond, the names of the purchaser and the denomination of the bonds purchased, have been furnished.

The affidavit, sworn by SBI chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara, said the bank has also furnished to the EC details like the date of encashment of the electoral bonds, the names of political parties that received the contributions and the denominations of the bonds.

"A total of 22,217 bonds were purchased during the period from April 1, 2019 till February 15. At the time of collating the information for the EC, the details were segregated as below…," it said.

The affidavit said between April 1, 2019 and April 11, 2019, a total of 3,346 electoral bonds were purchased and 1,609 redeemed.

It further said that from April 12, 2019 to February 15, a total of 18,871 electoral bonds were purchased and 20,421 were redeemed.

"The SBI has ready records in which the date of purchase, denomination and name of the buyer were recorded and (in relation to the political parties), the date of encashment and the denominations of the bonds encashed were recorded," the affidavit said.

The affidavit said, in compliance with the apex court's directions, a record of this information was made available to the EC by hand delivery in digital form (password protected) before the close of business hours on March 12.

The SBI said the aforesaid data has been furnished in respect of bonds purchased and redeemed between April 12, 2019 and February 15.

"The electoral bonds were sold and redeemed in phases during this period and phase IX started on April 1, 2019. The number of bonds set out in the application included (by oversight) the bonds that were purchased during the period commencing April 1, 2019 and not from April 12, 2019," it said.

The affidavit also contains as an annexure a copy of the letter as proof of service of data sent by the SBI to the Election Commission.

“The amount of the electoral bonds that were not encashed by the political party within the validity period of 15 days during this period have been transferred to the Prime Minister's National Relief Fund, as per Gazette notification no 20 dated January 2, 2018,” said the letter sent by the SBI to the poll panel.

On March 11, a five-judge Constitution bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud had dismissed the SBI's plea seeking an extension of time and ordered it to disclose the details of electoral bonds to the EC by the close of business hours on March 12.

The apex court had also directed the EC to publish the details shared by the bank on its official website by 5 pm on March 15.

In a landmark verdict delivered on February 15, a five-judge Constitution bench scrapped the Centre's electoral bonds scheme that allowed anonymous political funding, dubbing it "unconstitutional" and ordered the closure of the scheme forthwith.

Through the February 15 order, the top court had directed the SBI, the exclusive banker authorised under the scheme, to submit by March 6 the details of the electoral bonds purchased since April 12, 2019, till date to the EC. The EC, in turn, was asked to upload the data by 5 pm on March 13.

On March 11, while hearing SBI's application seeking an extension of time till June 30 to furnish the details to the EC, the apex court had observed that the bank's submissions in the application sufficiently indicated that the information was readily available with the bank.

In its application, the SBI had contended that the retrieval of information from "each silo" and the procedure of matching the information of one silo to that of the other will be a time-consuming exercise.

"The data related to the issuance of the bond and the data related to the redemption of the bond were kept and recorded in two different silos. No central database was maintained," the bank had said.

The SBI also said: "It is submitted that donor details were kept in a sealed cover at the designated branches and all such sealed covers were deposited in the main branch of the applicant bank, which is located in Mumbai."

Due to stringent measures undertaken to ensure that the identity of the donors was kept anonymous, "decoding" the electoral bonds and matching the donors to the donations will be a complex process, SBI had said in its application.

 

Tags: state bank of india (sbi), electoral bonds, supreme court of india
Location: India, Delhi