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Electoral bonds: Petition in Supreme Court seeks SIT probe into money trail

The petition filed by NGOs Common Cause and the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) alleges that a scam worth crores of rupees is involved in the Electoral Bonds matter, which can be unravelled only through an independent investigation under the monitoring of the Supreme Court.

Electoral bonds: Petition in Supreme Court seeks SIT probe into money trail gcw
First Published Apr 24, 2024, 11:37 AM IST

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court seeking the constitution of a Special Investigation Team to investigate the alleged instances of quid pro quo arrangements between corporates and political parties through Electoral Bonds donations.

According to the petition, which was submitted by the non-governmental organizations Common Cause and the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), the Electoral Bonds scandal is a swindle worth crores of rupees that can only be resolved by an impartial inquiry overseen by the Supreme Court.

The majority of the bonds appear to have been given as quid pro quo arrangements by corporations to political parties either (a) to secure government contracts or licenses, (b) to secure protection from investigations by the CBI, Income Tax Department, and Enforcement Directorate, or (c) as consideration of favorable policy changes, according to data that was made public after the Supreme Court struck down the anonymous electoral bonds scheme.

Additional data has revealed that a number of profitable businesses and shell corporations were giving large quantities of money to political parties via electoral bonds. Some claim that electoral bonds were utilized as a means of money laundering through these shell corporations.

The petition cited news reports regarding electoral bonds purchased by certain companies such as Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Ltd, APCO Infratech Private Limited (APCO), Future Gaming and Hotel Services, Grasim Industries, IFB Agro Limited, Infina Capital Private Ltd. (Infina), Aurobindo Pharma, Vedanta, Bharti Airtel Limited.

Additionally, the petitioner claimed that a number of pharmaceutical businesses who were being investigated by regulators for producing inferior pharmaceuticals had also bought election bonds. Such quid pro quo agreements, according to the petitioner, are blatantly illegal under the Prevention of Corruption Act of 1988.

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