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Electoral Bonds: NGO moves contempt plea against SBI in SC

Electoral Bonds: NGO moves contempt plea against SBI in SC

New Delhi: An NGO, Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR), moved a contempt plea in the Supreme Court against the State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday after the bank sought the court an extension of time till June 30 to disclose the details of each electoral bond encashed by political parties, PTI reported.

In its verdict last month, the top court directed the SBI to furnish the details to the Election Commission (EC) by March 6.

A bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud took note of submissions made by the NGO, for whom lawyer Prashant Bhushan appeared. The submissions told the court that he sought to initiate contempt proceedings against the bank.

Bhushan appealed that since SBI's plea is likely to be heard on March 11, the contempt application should also be heard together.

"Please send an e-mail. I will pass the order," the CJI said.

It was on March 4 that SBI moved the apex court seeking an extension to file details of the electoral bonds.

The poll rights body ADR says that about 82 per cent of the total income from unknown sources declared by national political parties in 2022-23 came from electoral bonds.

It also said that the analysis of the national parties' audit reports and donation statements filed with the Election Commission (EC) shows that the sources remain largely unknown.

Out of the Rs 1,832.88 crore as income from unknown sources, the share of income from electoral bonds was Rs 1,510 crore or 82.42 per cent, according to the analysis of the financial reports for the fiscal year 2022-23 submitted to the poll panel, it stated.

For this study, six national parties were considered -- the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M), the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the National People's Party (NPEP).

The BJP declared the highest income from unknown sources among the national parties at Rs 1,400 crore or 76.39 per cent of the total amount. The Congress declared an amount of Rs 315.11 crore (17.19 per cent).

The BSP has declared that it did not receive any funds from voluntary contributions -- above or below Rs 20,000, sale of coupons or electoral bonds, or unknown sources of income, the ADR said.

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