Electoral Bond Row: Decoding SBI's revelation of 22,217 bonds being utilized for political donations

Electoral Bond Row: The disclosure of Electoral Bond usage underscores the importance of transparency in political funding.

Author
Mayank Kasyap
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Courtesy: ANI

Electoral Bond Row: In a recent disclosure by the State Bank of India (SBI), it was revealed that a substantial sum of 22,217 Electoral Bonds (EBs) were utilized between April 12, 2019, and February 15, 2024, for political contributions. However, the complexity lies in the existence of two separate data repositories, presenting a significant challenge in deciphering, compiling, and cross-referencing a total of 44,434 data sets.

Electoral Bond Row: Anonymity measures complicate decoding process

The bank highlighted the intricacies involved in maintaining donor anonymity while processing Electoral Bonds. With 29 authorized branches across the country facilitating Electoral Bond transactions, SBI confronts the task of reconciling donor information preserved in sealed envelopes at designated branches with the redemption data held by political parties in Mumbai.

According to SBI officials, the process involves decoding redeemed EBs deposited in Mumbai Main Branch by authorized branches, alongside donor details stored in sealed envelopes at designated branches nationwide. This intricate process necessitates meticulous decoding, compilation, and comparison of the two sets of information.

Electoral Bond Row: Upholding anonymity principle

The rigorous measures adopted to safeguard donor anonymity pose significant hurdles in the decoding process. The deliberate avoidance of centralized donor details and digital storage further complicates the matching of issuance dates with donor purchases and subsequent alignment with party redemptions.

Electoral Bond Row: Judicial intervention for transparency

In a significant development on February 15, a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, along with Justices Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai, J B Pardiwala, and Manoj Misra, directed the State Bank of India to divulge comprehensive details of Electoral Bonds purchased between April 12, 2019, and the present to the Election Commission of India. These details encompass the purchase date of each Electoral Bond, the purchaser’s name, and the bond denomination.

The disclosure of Electoral Bond usage underscores the importance of transparency in political funding. Despite the complexities involved, the commitment to revealing crucial details reflects a stride toward ensuring accountability and integrity in the electoral process.