The electoral bond scheme, launched to promote transparency in funding and donation received by political parties, has seen donors purchasing electoral bonds worth over Rs 438 crore, of which 348 bonds are valued at Rs 1 crore in the last three months, according to an RTI query.
Based on an initiative by the government and the Election Commission, the State Bank of India (SBI) introduced electoral bonds worth Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1,00,000, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore.
According to details gathered from the SBI on electoral bonds by a Madhya Pradesh-based social worker Chandrashekhar Gaur through the Right to Information (RTI) route, donors purchased bonds worth Rs 438 crore in three months -- March, April and May, from various SBI branches.
One particular detail which emerged clear is most of the bonds were purchased by the millionaires, to be donated to the political parties.
Of the Rs 438 crore bonds purchased, the political parties have monetized only 417 bonds.
The SBI data revealed that most of the bonds worth Rs 1 crore were purchased from a Mumbai branch -- 206, followed by New Delhi main branch -- 72, a Bengaluru branch -- 41, Kolkata main branch -- 40, a Chennai branch -- 14 and a Gandhinagar branch -- 11 bonds.
However, when Gaur asked for more details -- which parties received how many bonds and if those were monetized -- the bank, citing a "third party case", refused to divulge more information.
Former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, however, said not providing any information by citing or mentioning "third party" is against the rules and there is no such provision in RTI.
He said the bonds were issued to tackle the menace of black money but if any detail related to it is concealed, the purpose of issuing bonds won't be fulfilled.