New Delhi: The State Bank of India (SBI) has sold electoral bonds worth Rs 1,716 crore in January and March this year against the Rs 1,056 crore of bonds sold in six months in 2018, signalling the maximum amount of political donations are being made through this route.
The SBI made the revelation in a response to an RTI application filed by Pune-based activist Vihar Durve. In the RTI reply, accessed by IANS, the SBI said that electoral bonds worth Rs 1,716,05,14,000 were sold in January and March 2019 in 14 cities - Mumbai, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Gandhinagar, Bengaluru, Guwahati, Bhubaneshwar, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Raipur, Jaipur, Lucknow and Panaji.
Bonds worth Rs 1,056,73,42,000 crore were sold in March, April, May, July, October and November 2018 in 13 cities. The maximum electoral bonds in terms of value were sold in Mumbai (Rs 495,60,12,000) followed by Kolkata (Rs 370,07,00,000), Hyderabad (Rs 290,50,00,000) and New Delhi (Rs 205,92,01,000). As per the reply made on April 1 in response to March 15 RTI application, these bonds were issued in denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore.
The Centre notified the electoral bond scheme in January last year announcing that these bonds may be purchased by a person, who is a citizen of India or a firm incorporated or established in India. Only registered political parties which secured not less than one per cent of the votes polled in the last general elections or state Assembly polls shall be eligible to receive electoral bonds.
The sale of these bonds is opened once in every quarter for 10 days, and for a month ahead of general elections or as notified by the government. They are valid for only 15 days. In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court on March 25 in response to a petition seeking a stay on sale of these bonds, the Election Commission has said that this method will have serious repercussions on transparency in political funding. The apex court is yet to decide on the petition. (IANS)
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