Electoral bonds: Megha Engineering, Future Gaming top charts of donors

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The Election Commission of India made data on electoral bonds public on March 14 two days after the State Bank of India (SBI) submitted the entire data on anonymously purchased bonds to the Supreme Court. The State Bank of India said it has issued electoral bonds worth Rs 16,518 crore in 30 tranches since the inception of the scheme in 2018.

The poll body on Thursday published the details in two parts. The first part has 337 pages with details about the companies and entities that bought electoral bonds and the date of purchase. The second part has 426 pages that gives details of the political parties, dates and the amount. It cannot be known which company bought whose electoral bonds. The bond numbers have not been provided.

The highest donor was Future Gaming And Hotel Services with Rs 1,368 crore. The second highest ⁠was Megha Engineering And Infrastructure Ltd with Rs 980 crore worth donation.

Future Gaming is reportedly owned by Santiago Martin, a lottery king from South India, Megha Engineering, which builds dams and power projects, is owned by PV Krishna Reddy and PP Reddy.

According to Future’s website, Martin started off in the lottery business at the age of 13, where “he had managed to develop and secure a vast marketing network of the buyers and sellers of lotteries all over India.” In the south, the firm runs under Martin Karnataka, while in the north-east, it is known with Martin Sikkim Lottery.

Other donors included, Grasim Industries, Megha Engineering, Torrent Power, Bharti Airtel, DLF Commercial Developers, Vedanta Ltd., Apollo Tyres, Lakshmi Mittal, Edelweiss, PVR, Keventer, Sula Wine, Welspun, Sun Pharma, and others. 

Recipients of funds through electoral bonds include BJP, Congress, AIADMK, BRS, Shiv Sena, TDP, YSR Congress, DMK, JDS, NCP, Trinamool Congress, JDU, RJD, AAP, SP.

Here’s the entire list:

While dismissing the Electoral Bond Scheme, 2018, the Supreme Court asked the SBI to give the ECI the data by March 6. The ECI was instructed to publish the data by March 13. On March 4, SBI moved the court seeking additional time till June 30, stating that the task of matching each donation to the party was time-consuming.

Its plea was rejected by the apex court. The SC bench asked the bank to submit all details to the Election Commission by the close of working hours on Tuesday.

After submitting the data, the SBI submitted an affidavit, in which it disclosed that a total of 22,217 electoral bonds were purchased and 22,030 were redeemed by political parties between April 1, 2019, and February 15, 2024.

From April 1, 2019 to April 11, 3,346 bonds were purchased and 1,609 were redeemed by parties. Between April 12, 2019, and February 15, 2024, donors bought 18,871 bonds and 20,421 were redeemed by parties, the SBI informed the top court.

The Election Commission on Thursday said: “In compliance of Hon’ble Supreme Court’s directions, contained in its order dated Feb 15 & March 11, 2024 (in the matter of WPC NO.880 of 2017), the State Bank of India (SBI) had provided the data pertaining to the electoral bonds to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on March 12, 2024.” 

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