Congress’s Bhupesh Baghel Calls Electoral Bond “Biggest Scam Of Year”, Minister Hits Back

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Bhupesh Baghel Calls Electoral Bond 'Biggest Scam Of Year', Minister Hits Back

Bhupesh Baghel called the electoral bond scheme the “biggest scam of the year”. (File)

Raipur:

A day after the Election Commission (EC) notified the dates for the Lok Sabha elections, former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and Congress leader Bhupesh Baghel on Sunday called the now-junked electoral bond scheme the “biggest scam of the year”.

Speaking to reporters, the Congress leader said, “This is the biggest scam of the year. The BJP senses that it is losing the Lok Sabha elections and was, hence, resorting to newer tactics against the Opposition.”

However, coming out in defence of the scheme, Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, SP Singh Baghel, said the Opposition was hurling unfounded allegations at the BJP over the electoral bond scheme.

“The Opposition is spreading canards against the BJP for receiving funding worth Rs 20,000 crore under the electoral bond scheme,” he said.

“TMC, which is only a regional party, received Rs 1,600 crore under the same scheme while the Congress received Rs 1,400 crore, and the BRS got Rs 1,200 crore. An election bond makes it binding on all political parties receiving funds to put all the transactional details on their books or balance sheets. However, before all of that, the parties can encash the bonds for meeting their expenses,” he added.

Hitting out at the Congress, he said, “Now the Congress is alleging that electoral bond scheme was launched to extort firms using central agencies. Under their regimes, even transfer postings or handing of contracts were listed under party fund.”

Earlier in the day, the Election Commission made public fresh data on electoral bonds, which was previously submitted to the Supreme Court in sealed covers, following a directive from the Supreme Court to make it available to the public.

“The Election Commission of India has today uploaded the data received in digitized form from the registry of the Supreme Court on electoral bonds on its website,” the poll panel said in a statement.

The EC initially submitted the details in the sealed covers to the Supreme Court and was later asked to put them in the public domain.

Notably, this information pertains to transactions that occurred before April 12, 2019. The details of electoral bonds issued after this data were disclosed by the Election Commission last week.

“Data so received from political parties was deposited in the Supreme Court without opening sealed covers. In pursuance of the Supreme Court’s order dated March 15, 2024, the Registry of the Supreme Court has returned physical copies along with a digitized record of the same in a pen drive in a sealed cover. The Election Commission of India has today uploaded the data received in the digitized form from the registry of the Supreme Court on electoral bonds on its website,” the EC added.

According to the fresh details, the DMK received Rs 656.5 crore through electoral bonds, including Rs 509 crore from lottery king Santiago Martin’s Future Gaming.

The BJP encashed electoral bonds worth a combined Rs 6,986.5 crore. The highest amount received by the ruling party was in 2019-20 worth Rs 2,555 crore.

Congress encashed funds totalling Rs 1,334.35 crore through electoral bonds.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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