Electoral Bonds: Why Rahul Gandhi Calls It Modi’s Biggest Extortion Racket

The Supreme Court found that the Electoral Bonds scheme passed by the Modi-government was illegal. The subsequent disclosures by the Election Commission of India, and freely available to the public, demonstrates that the BJP attempted to legalise a system of bribery and extortion to enrich themselves, on a scale the world has never seen before.

In 2017, the Modi government rammed electoral bonds through Parliament without proper debate. The scheme, which allowed unlimited and anonymous donations to political parties from individuals and companies, was pushed through despite concerns and objections raised by the Reserve Bank of India, the Election Commission of India, and the Law Ministry. After 5 long years the Supreme Court found the scheme to be unconstitutional; it violated the right to information and diluted the principle of a free and fair elections. Further that it would lead to “quid pro quo” arrangements – i.e. favours in exchange for donations.

Prime Minister Modi claimed that electoral bonds would increase accountability and transparency. In reality only the BJP government, through the SBI, knew who was donating to whom. It denied opposition parties, civil society and, most importantly, citizens access to information regarding how political parties were financed; it gave companies unprecedented and unregulated influence over government policy.

The recent ruling by the Supreme Court as well as the disclosures of electoral bond purchasers and recipients show what we all have known since the onset – that the scheme is nothing more than a scam by the Modi government which institutionalised and sanctioned corruption in a manner never before seen.

From April 2019 to January 2024 bonds worth 12,156 crores were encashed by all political parties. Of this Rs. 6,060 or about 50% was received directly by the BJP. Another Rs. 2,700 crore of bonds – more than 20% – were encashed by parties friendly to the BJP. An initial examination of electoral bond data already shows some of the BJP’s corrupt policies.

First – donations in exchange for business. Many companies have enjoyed huge benefits in the form of contracts or deals from the BJP government just before or after donating electoral bonds.

Remember, this legalised bribery is ultimately at the expense of the public. The BJP’s donors profit from public contracts, and award a portion of their profits to the BJP as a kickback. Public money – collected through GST paid by every citizen every day, income taxes from hard working individuals, and corporate taxes paid by businesses both large and small – is making its way to fund the BJP without the knowledge or consent of the people.

The second corrupt method employed by BJP is hafta vasooli – raid a company through ED/CBI/IT and then extort “donations” from the company and its owners. At least 14 of the top 30 donors have been raided.

Lastly, electoral bonds have paved the way for shell companies. By removing restrictions on the percentage of a company’s profits that can be donated, the BJP has permitted shell companies to donate money. An Indian Express investigation found that 25 smaller companies with a total combined capital of less than 5 cr donated 50x their equity, i.e. 250 cr. How is it possible for legitimate companies to pay donations 50x as much as what they are worth?

Rahul Gandhi said that electoral bonds are a way of extorting money from corporates, stealing money from the country’s biggest contracts, and coercing corporates into giving money to the BJP. Huge theft is taking place right before our eyes, orchestrated by none other than the country’s Prime Minister.

This is only the tip of the iceberg however. Investigations by media, citizens, and opposition parties are still underway, and more corruption by the Modi-government is sure to come out.

However, one thing already is clear – the BJP has illegally and improperly used its role in government to fill its own pockets, and make their corporate friends rich in the process. The Supreme Court has said this entire system was not just illegal but unconstitutional; and the data itself shows that this is the biggest bribery and extortion racket in the world.

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Comments (2)

  1. Naveen Saharan

    Well researched article exposing BJP policies and its ways of governance.

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