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Electoral bonds data: Allegations surface over donors Megha Engineering, Jindal Power and Steel ‘winning’ govt projects

Electoral Bonds Data: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday published the details on the Electoral Bonds Scheme (EBS) in compliance with the Supreme Court’s order. The data revealed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the highest recipient of funding under the EBS, followed by Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress (TMC). The data also revealed that two lesser-known companies, Future Gaming, and Megha Engineering, were the top donors. 

The electoral bonds data confirmed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was far and away the biggest beneficiary of the scheme, receiving 6,060.5 crore or around 47 per cent of the total bonds cashed. 

Also Read: Catch Electoral Bonds Data Live updates

As soon as the list was published, allegations of quid pro quo surfaced with opposition parties claiming a link between top donor companies and the BJP. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh alleged that “immediately after receiving some handouts from the Central government, companies have repaid the favour through electoral bonds.”

On Thursday, Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan too alleged quid pro quo. He took to microblogging site X to write, “On 11 April 23, Megha Engineering gives 100s Crs in #ElectoralBonds to whom? But within a month it gets a 14,400 cr contract from BJP’s Mah govt! Though SBI has hidden Bond numbers from the info, some of donors & parties match can be guessed. Most donations seem a quid pro quo”

(Please Note: The data published does not reveal any relation between donor companies and political parties)

Here’s what the Opposition is saying about companies bagging ‘lucrative deals’ after donating thousands of crores to political parties. 

Megha Engineering

A Hyderabad-based company, Megha Engineering is also the winner of the prestigious Zojila tunnel project, an all-weather road tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir, among other deals. Megha Engineering is also the second largest donor to political parties using electoral bonds.

Jairam Ramesh alleged, “Megha Engineering & Infra has given over 800 crore in EBs. In April 2023, they donated 140 crore, and just one month later, they were awarded the 14,400 crore Thane-Borivali Twin Tunnel Project.”

According to a PTI report, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Ltd (MEIL) bought a total of 966 crore worth of bonds between financial years 2019-20 and 2023-24 – the period when it won the project to build an all-weather road tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir in 2020 as well as licences to retail CNG and piped cooking gas in some cities.

Ramesh also claimed that Megha Engineering “got the BKC bullet train station contract in December 2022, and donated 56 crore the same month.”

Jindal Power and Steel

According to Jairam Ramesh, Jindal Power and Steel “won the Gare Palma IV/6 coal mine only 3 days after they gave 25 crore in EBS”.

“Jindal Steel & Power gave 25 crore in EBs on 7 October 2022, and just 3 days later, they won the Gare Palma IV/6 coal mine, on 10th October 2022,” Ramesh claimed. 

Other companies

In listing out kickbacks, Jairam Ramesh also said Anil Agarwal-owned Vedanta Limited got the Radhikapur West private coal mine on March 3, 2021, and then in April 2021, they donated 25 crore in electoral bonds.

Notably, A Vedanta Group company Talwandi Sabo Power Ltd (TSPL) was raided by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering probe in August 2022, reports Quint. The group has collectively donated 400 crore in electoral bonds.

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