Congress hails Supreme Court for dismissing SBI plea on electoral bonds but says it’s ‘halfway to truth’

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Monday hailed the Supreme Court for dismissing the SBI’s plea seeking an extension of time to furnish electoral bond details but said it was ”halfway to truth” and the top court should also give directions so that the nation gets to know who contributed funds to the BJP to bag contracts.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said those who came to power on the promise of bringing black money back from Swiss banks in 100 days did whatever they could to hide the data of their own bank from the Supreme Court.

Earlier in the day, the Supreme Court rejected the State Bank of India’s plea seeking an extension of time and ordered it to disclose the details of electoral bonds to the Election Commission by close of business hours on March 12. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud also directed the EC to publish the details on March 15.

The bench, however, said it had not directed the bank to match the details of donors and donee with other information. The SBI has to just open the sealed cover, collate the details and give the information to the EC, it said.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that after the SBI asked for four-and-a-half months to publish the electoral bond details, it became clear that the Narendra Modi government was making every possible effort to cover up its dark deeds.

”With the Supreme Court’s decision, the country will soon come to know who donated to the BJP through electoral bonds. This is the first step in exposing the corruption, scams and transactions of the Modi government,” Kharge said in a post in Hindi on ‘X’.

”Even now, the country will not find out for which contracts the select capitalist donors of the BJP were giving donations to the Modi government and the Supreme Court should give appropriate directions for that,” he said.

Kharge also cited media reports to allege that the BJP used to ”extort donations” by getting the Enforcement Directorate, Central Bureau of Investigation and the Income Tax Department to conduct raids.

”The Supreme Court’s decision is a victory for transparency, accountability, and a level-playing field in democracy,” the Congress president added.

At a press conference, Kharge was asked about the top court not directing the bank to match the details of donors and donee with other information to which the Congress president said the information as to who gave whom would not be known.

”What is the point of that? We need to know who gave you (the government) the donation, what contracts were given to that person, what exemptions from ED were given, what were I-T department exemptions and what kind of benefit was given to them. But you are not giving that,” he said.

Rahul Gandhi too attacked the government over the electoral bonds issue, saying, ”Narendra Modi’s ‘donation business’ is about to be exposed!” Those who came to power by promising to bring back black money from Swiss banks in 100 days left no stone unturned in the Supreme Court to hide their own bank data, Gandhi said in a swipe at the Modi government.

”Electoral Bonds will prove to be the biggest scam in Indian history and will reveal the real face of Narendra Modi in front of the country by exposing the nexus between corrupt industrialists and the government,” the former Congress chief said in a post in Hindi on ‘X’.

”The chronology is clear — donate and take business; donate and take protection,” Gandhi added.

He alleged that the Modi government showered blessings on those who made donations and imposed tax burdens on the general public.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh also took a swipe at the government over the issue, saying the man who once famously said ”Na Khaunga, Na Khane Dunga’ has been insistent on ‘Na Bataunga, Na Dikhaunga’ (will not tell, will not show)” when it comes to the source of his election donations.

”Ever since the Supreme Court verdict asking for information regarding the donors and recipients of the Electoral Bonds to be published, the Modi government has got the SBI to attempt postponing the disclosure until after the elections. Salute to the Supreme Court for seeing through the obvious dishonesty of the State Bank of India’s arguments,” Ramesh said on X.

”The Supreme Court’s verdict is halfway to the truth. We would have liked for there to be complete transparency in exactly who donated how much to which political party. Nevertheless, we welcome this verdict,” the Congress leader said.

Ramesh said that between 2017 and 2023, the BJP received 57 per cent of the total funds donated to all political parties through the Electoral Bonds scheme.

”The BJP received a whopping Rs 6,565 crore via bonds. Therefore it is likely that most donors identified tomorrow and the majority of the amount that they have contributed would have gone straight into the prime minister’s bottomless campaign coffers,” he alleged.

”The Electoral Bonds are part of the picture. They represent 58 per cent of the BJP’s ‘declared’ funds. One can only imagine what proportion of the BJP’s finances are coming from these same donors through undisclosed means,” Ramesh claimed.

In a post on ‘X’, Congress general secretary, organisation, K C Venugopal, said, ”The Supreme Court has once again come to protect Indian democracy from the devious machinations of this regime.”

Source: Press Trust of India

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