Skip to main content

Gujarat govt's electoral contribution to BJP by cheque in 2009-10? No state dept knows who made the payment

Modi, Suresh Mehta
By Rajiv Shah
While it is well known that top business houses of Gujarat have liberally contributed to the BJP to meet its electoral expenses, putting Congress in an unenviable position, surprisingly, in 2009-10, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi ruled the state, his government, too, made a contribution, albeit small, to the saffron party!
The 2009-10 list of donations of more than Rs 20,000, submitted by the BJP’s then office in-charge Shyam Jaju to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on December 1, 2010, has an entry on page 13, showing that the “Government of Gujarat, Gandhinagar”, donated Rs 25,000 as electoral contribution to the party by cheque No 482811 of State Bank of India.
Former BJP chief minister Suresh Mehta, who dug out this piece information more than a year ago, told Counterview, “I have been filing Right to Information (RTI) pleas to ascertain who in the state government paid this money, violating all constitution norms. Yet, no state department, including the chief secretary’s office, knows who made the payment.”
In his RTI plea, Mehta, who resigned from the BJP in 2007, sought information for several of his queries, including under which budget head the amount was paid, who took the decision about paying the amount to the BJP, what was the justification for the payment, and which state departments advised to make the payment.
Seeking to see all file notings preceding the decision to send the cheque to the BJP, Mehta wondered whether the amount was paid under the “consolidated fund or any other fund” of the state budget, and how and when its “conciliation/appropriation” – a budgetary requirement – was carried out for making the payment.
Screenshot from the document showing GoG payment to BJP
Documents handed over by Mehta to Counterview suggest the state government departments, which could possibly be responsible for giving the donation to the BJP, including the chief minister’s office (CMO) have been, over the last one year, offering just one reply: That they “can’t find the information” about the donation.
The documents suggest that Mehta – who had filed his RTI to the CMO, the general administration department (GAD), the finance department and the parliamentary affairs department – got some very interesting replies. The first one, dated March 21, 2017, by the GAD, sought information from the ex-chief minister, if he had any, as it couldn’t find any!
Yet another reply by the GAD, dated May 22, 2017, told Mehta that he had sought information from “more than department”, but “we cannot find the requisite information you have sought even after visiting the Gujarat chief secretary’s office several times over.” It adds, “Nor is it clear as to which department is responsible for making a decision about the information you have sought”.
Failing to get information, Mehta approached the Gujarat Information Commission (GIC), the state’s RTI watchdog, which in its order, signed by its commissioner Dilip P Thaker on April 17, 2018, asked the ex-CM to “furnish any information” he has to the GAD about the payment to the BJP within 15, adding, on receiving the information the GAD should “provide its reply” within a fortnight.
Complying by GIC order, in its final reply to Mehta, dated May 4, 2018, the GAD said, “After examing the cash cheque book for the year 2009-10, it has been found that State Bank of India’s cheque No 482811 of Rs 25,000, about which you have referred to, is not there the cash notebook, which means, the GAD and the chief secretary’s office have not made any such payment.”
Comments Mehta, “While the GAD says that it has not issued the cheque, the state government should come clean and say who, if at all, issued the cheque. Interestingly, the state government officials are even refusing to categorically state that the entry of making payment to the BJP was a mistake, or that the state government did not make the payment at all…”

Comments

Anonymous said…
The SBI can give information from which account the cheque was received and debited.
Vasudev Charupa said…
Very sensitive article
Its clearly theft of public money
Uma said…
A clever case of political-cum-financial lederdemain

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

By Our Representative
Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book, "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur*
Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tata Mundra: NGOs worry as US court rules World Bank can't be sued for 'damages'

By Kate Fried, Mir Jalal*
On August 24 evening, a federal court ruled that the World Bank Group cannot be sued for any damage caused by its lending, despite last year’s Supreme Court ruling in the same case that these institutions can be sued for their “commercial activity” in the United States.

Top Catholic group wants quota for Dalit Christians, foreign fund licenses revived

By Our Representative
Reiterating its long-pending demand to give "scheduled rights for Dalit Christians”, the All-India Catholic Union (AICU) has regretted that while converts to Sikhism and Buddhism from the former untouchable, or Dalit communities, have been included in the scheduled caste (SC) category, Christians from the identical communities have been “kept out.”