Electoral Bonds Scheme: Reliance-linked entities, Kotak Mahindra and Aditya Birla groups are among top donors

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | March 16, 2024 IST

Electoral Bonds Scheme: Reliance-linked entities, Kotak Mahindra and Aditya Birla groups are among top donors

New Delhi, March 16: Bigwigs of corporate India, either directly or through front companies or associates, have shown generosity in subscribing to the Electoral Bonds scheme, as revealed by a series of reports by the Reporters' Collective.

Based on the published data, this website, managed by journalists, has identified major corporate entities such as Reliance, Kotak Mahindra, and the Aditya Birla Group among those contributing crores of rupees to the political parties.

All eyes are now on the 'unique numbers' likely to be shared by the State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday.

It will give some more clarity on which entities contributed to which political parties.

The data posted on the EC portal pertains to the period from April 12, 2019 to January 2024 and includes information about Rs 12,769 crore funding via electoral bonds.

New revelations have created quite a buzz in business and political circles, analysts say.

Qwik Supply Chain Private Limited, a lesser-known company with links to Reliance Industries, has caught the attention of people because of its scale of donations. Notably, none of Reliance Group's listed firms are among the political donors as per the EC list but the Qwik Supply Chain has emerged as the third biggest donors to political parties via electoral bonds.

The company reportedly bought electoral bonds of Rs 410 crore in FY 2021-22 and 2023-24 and also has a connection with Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infra which purchased bonds worth Rs 966 crore.

The company has a registered address at Navi Mumbai's Dhirubhai Ambani Knowledge City (DAKC).

However, the Reliance group has denied any links and also ruled out the company being a subsidiary of any Reliance entity.

According to available information, the Qwik Supply, incorporated in the year 2000, is a manufacturer of warehouses and storage units and recorded its revenue at over Rs 500 crore in 2022-23.

The company bought electoral bonds worth Rs 360 crore in 2021-22 and purchased another bond worth Rs 50 crore worth in 2023-24.

Honeywell Properties Private Limited is said to be another Reliance-backed firm that purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 30 crore in 2021. Satyanarayanamurthy Veera Venkata Korlep is one of the directors of this company and as per reports he is on the board of several Reliance Group firms.

To name others few, Sun Pharma Laboratories Limited donated about Rs 31.5 crore to parties in financial year 2019-20 in two installments of Rs 21.5 crore and Rs 10 crore respectively.

Vedanta Group is said to be the fourth biggest contributor to political parties via electoral bonds. Grasim Industries, one of the flagships of Aditya Birla Group is another company in the top 100 donors via electoral bonds.

The firm donated Rs 33 crore via bonds. Aditya Birla Group donated Rs 534 crore in total, which includes Rs 224 crore by Essel Mining and Industries Limited, Rs 135 crore by Utkal Alumina International Limited, Rs 35 crore through Ultratech Cement, Rs 105 crore by Birla Carbon, and Rs 2 crore through Birla Estate Pvt Ltd, said the Reporters' Collective in its report.

Billionaire banker Uday Kotak's firm bought electoral bonds in three windows -- first in Rs 25 crore (2019), second in 2020 (Rs 10 crore) and third in 2021 (Rs 25 crore).

The bonds were purchased by Mumbai-based Infina Finance, jointly owned by Kotak Mahindra Bank and Kotak family.

While the list of electoral bond purchasers has umpteen names, a few findings by the Reporters' Collective have caught the attention of many.

Laxmidas Vallabhdas Merchant is among the few donors, who made a donation of Rs 25 crore in individual capacity and also features among Top 100 donors in the electoral bonds data, the report found.

LinkedIn profile of Laxmidas Vallabhdas Merchant shows that he is the Group Controller of Reliance Group and takes care of its tax compliance regime.

According to a report in Reporters' Collective, three out of the top 15 electoral bond donors belong to one conglomerate -- Keventer Group of companies, together contributing to about Rs 500 crore.

Keventer Foodpark Infra Pvt Ltd made the biggest bonds purchase of Rs 195 crore while Madanlal Ltd came close second with Rs 185.5 crore.

Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited is the second-highest donor to parties, as per the report.

The Hyderabad-based company purchased bonds worth Rs 966 crore and remains the second biggest contributor since 2019.

Udaipur-based Wonder Cement, a relatively unknown company donated Rs 20 crore through electoral bonds while Future Gaming donated Rs 328 crore in 2022-23. Chennai Green Woods Private Limited, another lesser-known firm donated more than Rs 100 crore in three chunks -- Rs 40 crore, Rs 50 crore, and Rs 15 in 2022 and 2023.

The construction firm is co-owned by a Guntur-based businessman and a YSR Congress MP.

As per SC guidelines, the list of donors who purchased electoral bonds and that of political parties that encashed them are posted on the EC website.

The political parties that redeemed electoral bonds include the BJP, Congress, AIADMK, BRS, Shiv Sena, TDP, YSR Congress, DMK, JD-S, NCP, Trinamool Congress, JD-U, RJD, AAP, Samajwadi Party, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, the BJD, among others.

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