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Supreme Court has exposed massive Corrupt Mechanism by the Modi Govt, says Cong

New Delhi: The Indian National Congress has on Thursday lauded Supreme Court’s  unanimous judgement striking down Electoral Bond Scheme.  In a statement party spokesperson Pawan Khera said that the Apex Court of the country has held Electoral Bonds scheme was violative of both laws passed by Parliament as well as the Constitution of India and this was the stand “our party has been consistently holding.”

Khera further said that The Indian National Congress was the very first political party, which on the day the electoral bonds scheme was announced in 2017, called a press conference and condemned the same as opaque and undemocratic. “We have since consistently called out the scheme both within parliament and outside. Our 2019 Lok Sabha Manifesto clearly stated that we intend to scrap this opaque scheme. Today, we stand vindicated.”

The Electoral Bonds Scheme, he said, was nothing, but a “Black Money Recycling Scheme”purported by the BJP to fill its coffers.

“Like all schemes of this government, the Election Bonds Scheme was always designed to singularly benefit the ruling regime. This was evident from the fact that every single year thereafter the BJP secured 95% of all political donations through this route. Now, the question must be put to them; will they comply or come up with another ordinance to evade this clear verdict.”

The Congress leader said “the Supreme Court today echoed the very same sentiments that my colleagues and I have, on record expressed time and again.”

“First, that the scheme is unconstitutional; that such a measure that conceals from the voters how political parties are funded cannot be justified in a democracy. Thus, it directly violates Article 19(1)(a).

Second, that the Government’s claims that it curbed black money were without basis. Infact, it was encouraging the conversion of Black Money to White, by implementing this scheme, without provisions of the RTI.

Third, financial arrangements can lead to quid pro quo between political parties.”

He said that the Modi Government, and the then Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley “repeatedly defended an Unconstitutional decision of introducing the electoral bonds, subverting the reservations of RBI, Election Commission, Parliament of India, Opposition, and the people of India.”

Khera further added:

1.      Documents, now in public domain revealed that the Reserve Bank of India had warned that electoral bonds could funnel black money into politics and destabilise the currency. But the then finance minister Arun Jaitley dismissed it.

2.      A confidential note, revealed by some investigative journalism, also revealed that Modi Govt’s Finance Ministry officials intentionally misled the Election Commission in an effort to dilute its opposition to the electoral bond scheme.

3.      In 2018, when 6 critical states went to polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office directed the finance ministry to break its own rules to approve the special and illegal sale of electoral bonds.

4.      The rules for electoral bonds were broken at the first given opportunity. SBI was supposed to sell the first tranche in April 2018, but the first round was opened a month earlier in March 2018 instead. Rs 222 crore worth of bonds were bought in this round, with 95% going to the BJP. With the Karnataka state elections due in May 2018, the PMO instructed the finance ministry to open a special and extra window of another 10 days. Vijay Kumar, deputy director in the department of Economic Affairs handling the electoral bond scheme, wrote in internal file notings on April 3, 2018. “This would imply that additional issuance of Electoral Bearer Bonds cannot be meant for state assembly election.” [AnnexureA1]

5.      The bonds worth Rs 10 crore were redeemed soon after the 2018 Karnataka state elections resulted in a hung assembly. The Prime Minister’s Office made SBI Accept expired electoral bonds sold in an illegal window.

6.      In 2021, freshly revealed documents also nailed Modi Govt’s lies on anonymity of the bonds. The State Bank of India maintains a record of donors and the political parties, which the only law enforcement can access.

7.      The Modi govt gave a bizarre justification: Corporates should be allowed to donate secretly because they have a Right to Life under the Constitution which overrides citizens’ right to information and is equal to citizen’s right to secret ballot. The law ministry said Modi Govt’s route to pass electoral bonds was illegal but signed off anyway.

Now, the Supreme Court has directed the following –

  Electoral Bonds which are within the validity period of 15 days but which have not been encashed by the political parties yet shall be returned by the political party to the purchaser. The issuing bank shall then refund the amount to the purchaser’s account.

  State Bank of India to HEREWITH IMMEDIATELY STOP issuing electoral bonds, And issue details of the political parties that received electoral bonds and all the particulars received to Election Commission by March 6, 2024.

  By March 13, 2024, the ECI shall publish it on official website.

He then said “now, that the massive Corrupt Mechanism by the Modi Govt has been exposed by the Supreme Court itself, will the Modi Govt now send ED to probe the EB Scam?”

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