SC demands transparency from SBI over missing electoral bond numbers

The State Bank of India headquarters at Nariman Point in Mumbai.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has taken notice of the State Bank of India’s failure to disclose bond numbers in the electoral bond data submitted to the Election Commission of India, which was made public recently. This lack of transparency makes it difficult to determine if there were any quid pro quo arrangements between companies purchasing the bonds and various governments.

The data uploaded by the Election Commission contains two sets: one showing bond purchases by companies and the other listing deposits made by political parties that encashed the bonds. However, without the bond numbers, it’s impossible to cross-verify which companies or individuals donated to which political parties.

During a hearing, Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud noted the absence of SBI’s representative and questioned why the bond numbers were not disclosed.

He emphasized the importance of the State Bank of India publishing all relevant details, as mandated by a previous court judgment.

The Supreme Court has previously stated that voters have the right to know about any potential quid pro quo arrangements between political parties in power and corporate interests. Several companies listed as major purchasers of electoral bonds have come under scrutiny from central agencies, facing legal cases and investigations. Additionally, some companies have bought electoral bonds exceeding their annual profits, raising concerns about the source and purpose of these funds.

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