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RBI governor on electoral bonds: ‘No comments, it’s a Supreme court judgement’

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das declined to comment on the electoral bond data and said that the matter is outside the scope of the central bank. During the post-police press conference, he said, “On electoral bonds, we have no comments. It’s a Supreme Court judgment, which has to be complied with and it’s in pursuance with judgment. State Bank of India has taken the required action. The issue of who has contributed more than its net worth is not in the domain of the RBI.”

Shaktikanta Das, governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), during a news conference in Mumbai, India.(Bloomberg)

This comes after a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the electoral bond scheme as “unconstitutional” on February 15 saying that the scheme violated Article 19 of the Constitution by not disclosing details of funding. Following this, the Election Commission published detailed data on the electoral bonds provided by the State Bank of India. This also included alphanumeric number on each bond that links the donor to the recipient political party.

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This came after the Supreme Court told SBI- the only bank dealing in the electoral bonds- to stop being selective and make a complete disclosure of all details by March 21 which includes the unique bond numbers which can match buyers with recipient political parties.

As per the data, the Bharatiya Janata Party is the biggest beneficiary of the electoral bonds scheme as it received 6,061 crore as political donations in the last five years. As per the data submitted by State Bank of India (SBI) to the Election Commission of India, this amounts to 48 per cent of all electoral bonds for political parties since 2019-20. Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress got 1,610 crore followed by the Indian National Congress at 1,422 crore.

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