Journalist Poonam Agarwal Who Accused SBI Of Sharing Wrong Electoral Bond Data Apologises

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Journalist Poonam Agarwal Who Accused SBI Of Sharing 'Wrong' Electoral Bond Data Apologises

New Delhi:

A journalist who had questioned the authenticity of the data shared by the State Bank of India (SBI) on electoral bonds has admitted that she was mistaken. Poonam Agarwal had, in a series of tweets, claimed that she bought electoral bonds only in 2018, but the data released showed she had purchased a bond in 2020. But yesterday, the journalist said she may have forgotten about the bonds she bought in 2020 as it was the year of the Covid pandemic.

“I have come across a video that I recorded at The Quint in which I am showing an Electoral Bond dated 20/10/2020. I don’t remember purchasing a bond in 2020 but only in 2018. A unique number will clear many doubts. Till then let’s not question SBI data,” Poonam Agarwal said in a post on X (formerly Twitter).

“One can blame it on my poor memory. 2020 was COVID outbreak year, many things were happening. Maybe that’s why I don’t remember it. My apologies for my poor memory,” she added.

The electoral bonds scheme, introduced by the BJP government in 2018, allowed individuals and businesses to donate anonymously to political parties. The Supreme Court struck down in January and directed SBI to share all details on the donations made in the last 5 years.

When the SBI shared the first set of data, there were concerns raised as it did not contain electoral bond numbers which would have helped link donations to political parties.

Regarding this data, independent journalist Poonam Aggarwal then claimed that the purchase of bonds in her name had been shown from the wrong date. Poonam said that the data is incorrect because she had purchased two bonds worth Rs 1,000 each in April 2018, whereas the data available on the Election Commission website shows the same purchase in her name in October 2020.

But after her video showing the 2020 bonds went viral, she issued a clarification saying that the SBI data shouldn’t be questioned.

According to the data released by the Election Commission of India, the BJP received the maximum funds through these bonds (Rs 8,252 crore) since the scheme was implemented in 2018. Trinamool Congress was a distant second (Rs 1,397 crore) and Congress ranked third (Rs 1,334 crore).



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