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Have given poll bond data to EC in 2 silos, SBI chief tells SC

NEW DELHI:

State Bank of India

on Wednesday informed the Supreme Court that it has given to Election Commission detailed information for last five years on 22,217

electoral bonds

(EBs) in two

silos

– one relating to purchasers and the other on recipient political parties – while remitting

uncashed EB amounts

to PM’s National Relief Fund.
SBI chairman Dinesh Kumar Khara filed the affidavit in compliance of SC’s March 11 order directing the bank – the sole authority for issuing EBs since the scheme allowing anonymous corporate donations to political parties was floated in 2018 – to furnish the details to EC by the close of business hours of Tuesday. He said the details have been given to EC in digital form protected by password.

The affidavit said a total of 22,217 EBs were purchased, of which 22,030 were redeemed by recipient political parties, and the balance 187 uncashed EB amounts were transferred to PMNRF, as per the 2018 notification floating the scheme.

SBI gave details of purchasers and recipients in two silos, without pairing the identity of the purchaser of a bond and that of its recipient.
The bank said from April 1, 2019, till April 11, 2019, a total of 3,346 EBs were purchased, of which less than half, 1,609, were redeemed. Between April 12, 2019, and February 15, 2024, (the date when the SC quashed the EB scheme, declaring it to be unconstitutional), a total 18,871 EBs were purchased, but 20,421 were redeemed, which meant that the shortfall in redemption of bonds in the earlier period were made up during the later period. All EBs are to be cashed by parties within 15 days.

SBI said it had ready records “in which date of purchase, denomination and name of buyers were recorded, and (in relation to political parties) the date of encashment and the denomination of the redeemed bonds were recorded”.
The first cache of information related to purchase of each EB, name of purchaser and denomination of EB and the second cache of data pertained to date of redemption of EBs, name of political party receiving the EB amount and the denomination of these redeemed EBs.
SBI said it furnished to EC the details in two PDF files, one with details of purchasers of EBs and other containing the names of political parties that had encashed these bonds with all the requisite details as per SC’s order. “Both PDF files are stored in a pen drive and are password protected.”