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IndiaElectoral Bonds: PIL in Supreme Court seeks SIT probe into ‘quid pro...

Electoral Bonds: PIL in Supreme Court seeks SIT probe into ‘quid pro quo’ between corporates and political parties


New Delhi, Apr 24: Alleging a scam in the electoral bonds scheme declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, a PIL on Wednesday urged the top court to order a court-monitored SIT probe into the instances of “apparent quid pro quo between public servants, political parties, commercial organisations, companies, officials of investigation agencies and others.”

“An analysis of the data as published by the ECI on its website exposed how quid pro quo arrangements have potentially been made between large corporates and political parties in the last 6 years through the use of electoral bonds. The data makes it apparent that private companies paid crores of funds to political parties apparently either as “protection money” for protection against agencies under the central government or as a “bribe” in return for undue benefits,” the PIL alleged.

Filed by Common Cause and the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), the PIL alleged that “In some instances, it has been seen that the political parties in power at the centre or in states have brazenly amended policies and laws to apparently provide benefits to private promoters of large projects at the cost of public interest.”

The PIL sought an “order or direction to the authorities to investigate the source of funding of shell companies and loss-making companies to various political parties, as has been disclosed through the electoral bonds data.”

It also demanded “an appropriate writ, order or direction to the authorities to recover the amounts from political parties as donated by companies to these parties as part of quid pro quo arrangements where these are found to be proceeds of .”

The petitioners alleged, “In the Electoral Bond scam, some of the country's main investigative agencies such as the CBI, Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department appear to have become accessories to corruption. Several firms which were under investigation by these agencies have donated large sums of money to the ruling party, potentially to influence outcomes of probes.”

They submitted that “the quid pro quo arrangements under the garb of donation are marred with conflict of interest and indicate that offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 may have been committed.”

The PIL alleged violation of Section 182(1) of the Companies Act, 2013 by companies which donated to political parties through electoral bonds within three years of their incorporation, as has been disclosed through the electoral bonds data and for penalty to be imposed on such companies in terms of Section 182(4) of Companies Act, 2013.

Ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha election, the Supreme Court had on February 15 declared unconstitutional the electoral bonds scheme that allowed individuals and companies to make unlimited anonymous donations to political parties.

Noting that voters have right to know, a five-judge Constitution Bench led by CJI DY Chandrachud had said the Electoral Bonds Scheme violated Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution which guaranteed right to freedom of speech and expression and included right to information within its ambit.

The disclosure of information regarding electoral bonds was necessary to identify corruption and quid pro quo transactions in governance, it had said, adding, “Such information is also necessary for exercising an informed vote.”

The top court had ordered the State Bank of to stop issuing Electoral Bonds immediately and submit all details to the Election Commission for making all donations public.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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