Electoral bonds worth at least ₹282 crore were sold ahead of the Bihar elections, the first amid the coronavirus crisis that has triggered worries on the economic front, according to RTI responses by the State Bank of India (SBI) to multiple queries.
The bank’s response to a Right to Information (RTI) query by retired Commode Lokesh K. Batra said it sold bonds worth ₹282,29,01,000 from nine of its branches, a report said.
While Mumbai branch sold highest amount (₹130 crore) of bonds, New Delhi branch issued bonds worth ₹11.99 crore, followed by Patna branch — ₹80 lakh. Bonds worth ₹237 crore were encashed in three cities — Bhubaneswar, Chennai, and Hyderabad.
These bonds were sold in the 14th tranche, during October 19-28. Reports said the most number of bonds (279) were of ₹1 crore denomination while 32 of ₹10 lakh denomination were sold in the said window last month ahead of the Bihar elections.
Adding the latest bond sales, the total political donations to parties via this deb instrument touches ₹6,493 crore since the time of its introduction n 2018. These bonds, brought by anonymous donors, can be redeemed only by a political party and are valid for 15 days.
It may be noted a petition challenging the validity of electoral bonds is pending in Supreme Court. The petition was filed by Association for Democratic Reforms that had moved the top court last month for urgent hearing against opening the sale window for Bihar elections.