Skip to main content

Corporate-political party nexus? Rise and rise of Gautam Adani under Modi regime

By Sandeep Pandey* 

In last five years Rs 10,09,510 crore taken as loans by various companies from banks in India have been declared as Non Performing Assets, an euphemism for writing them off. Out of this State Bank of India alone wrote off Rs 2,04,486 crore. Only about 13% of the total written off amount was recovered.
Identity of the defaulting borrowers, most of whom are influential corporates, is not revealed. Compare this to the loans taken by farmers. The names of defaulting farmers is displayed on walls in tehsil offices to shame them and some unlucky ones also land up in lock-ups there. On the contrary, a few corporate defaulters have fled the country and quite curiously the authorities didn’t seize their passports like they do with some dissenting intellectuals or activists booked under mostly false cases.
Now consider the donations received by political parties in the form of electoral bonds. The identity of the donor need not be revealed even to the Election Commission or income tax department. The Bhartiya Janata Party has received a total of Rs 4,028 crore, since the scheme was introduced in 2018 till end of financial year 2020-21, which is 63% of its total income and 92% of its income from unknown sources.
The Congress Party has received Rs 731 crore in the form of electoral bonds in the same period, which gives an idea of why it is not so much against this opaque system of donations. So far Rs 10,791.47 crore worth of electoral bonds have been sold by SBI.
Till the end of financial year 202-21, BJP’s share in income from electoral bonds received by all national political parties was 80% and was 65% of income of all national and regional parties. Quite clearly BJP is the biggest beneficiary of the opaque donations through electoral bonds and it is receiving almost two thirds of its donations through this means.
Could there be a relation between keeping the identity of companies whose loans are written off concealed and not disclosing the names of companies making donations through electoral bonds? In reply to a Right to Information query by Commodore Lokesh Batra (retd) it is revealed that 93.67% electoral bonds sold were of denomination Rs. 1 crore, the biggest available.
Hence most probably it is the big corporates, quite a few of them could be multinational ones, who are buying these and it points to a deep corporate-political party nexus which is bad for policy making in the interest of common people of this country, specifically, and for the democracy, in general.
The suspicion arises as unlike before when companies could only give up to 7.5% of their average profit over last three years as political donations, since 2018 when electoral bond system was introduced this restriction has been removed. This implies that even loss making companies can now make political donations.
A company whose loans are being written off is most likely a loss making company, a possible reason why it cannot repay the amount borrowed. Is it possible that some of the loans taken from banks are being routed to political parties as donations and then these loans are being written off in a quid pro quo arrangement?
We will never know this because of the opaque nature of functioning of the system which has got itself immunity from the RTI regime as well. The electoral bond system as well as declaration of NPAs system stand in stark contrast to the spirit of transparency being sought to be brought in the governance system of this country since 2005 as part of the RTI Act. Without the help of RTI, corporate-political party nexus can never be exposed.
This explains another anomaly introduced in the system – the RTI Act has been made toothless by an amendment in 2019. Otherwise, during the United Progressive Alliance government, Central Information Commission had even passed an order for the political parties to reveal details about their donations under the Act.
It is an open secret, in spite of the opaque system, that Gautam Adani has been the biggest beneficiary of the National Democratic Alliance government. Even Narendra Modi doesn’t make an attempt to hide this. As Chief Minister of Gujarat when he flew to New Delhi to take oath as Prime Minister of the country he chose to use Adani’s aircraft.
Adani, who was not much known outside Gujarat before Modi’s ascension to power at the Centre, is now the second richest man in the world. For the first time a PM’s photo has appeared in advertisements of private companies like Reliance Jio and Paytm. Narendra Modi also inaugurated private hospital of Mukesh Ambani in Mumbai in 2014.
The Union government approved grants of Rs 3,000 crore and Rs 1,500 crore to Adar Poonawalla’s company and Bharat Biotech, the two chosen ones, for Covid-19 vaccine production. Hence it is only a matter of conjecture who the biggest electoral bond donors to BJP would be?
On the other hand, even though he would like to project himself as a mendicant, Narendra Modi’s opulence is visible. People don’t miss the number of times he changes dress during the course of a day. Each of them is designed to give a fashion statement. The costly coat that he wore in 2015 with his name inscribed all over fetched Rs 1.21 crore in auction.
Modi may declare himself to be honest man like Dr Manmohan Singh, with no personal wealth in his name, but unlike the former PM, how do we know that the assets being created by his good friend Adani are not ‘benami'?
---
*Magsaysay award winning academic-social activist, general secretary of Socialist Party (India)

Comments

TRENDING

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

'Wedding of the century': What does Mukesh Ambani want to prove by such extravaganza?

By NS Venkataraman*  Mukesh  Ambani,   a renowned Indian industrialist who is said to be the richest person in India and  one of the richest persons in the world,   has just now conducted the wedding celebration of  his son in Mumbai,   with unheard level of lavishness in India.

'28% rise in sedition cases': Top global NGO alliance rates India's civil space 'repressed'

By Rajiv Shah Rating India's civic space as repressed , Civicus, a global civil society alliance, in its new report submitted to the UN Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) on the state of civic space in the country has said that the use of sedition law against the Modi government’s critics continues. "Under the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sedition cases have increased by 28 per cent with over 500 cases against more than 7,000 people", it says.

'Anti-poor stand': Even British wouldn't reduce Railways' sleeper and general coaches

By Anandi Pandey, Sandeep Pandey*  Probably even the British, who introduced railways in India, would not have done what the Bhartiya Janata Party government is doing. The number of Sleeper and General class coaches in various trains are surreptitiously and ominously disappearing accompanied by a simultaneous increase in Air Conditioned coaches. In the characteristic style of BJP government there was no discussion or debate on this move by the Indian Railways either in the Parliament or outside of it. 

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.

How embracing diversity enriched my life, brought profound sense of joy

By Mike Ghouse*  If you can shed the bias towards others, you'll love the connections with every human that God or his systems have created. This gives a sense of freedom and brings meaning and joy to life. Embracing and respecting how people dress, eat, and practice their beliefs becomes an enriching experience.

Banned Maoist party protests in Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, claims support across globe

By Harsh Thakor*  Despite being a banned and designated as terrorist organisation under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act since 2009, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) is said to have successfully implemented a one-day bandh across Kolhan division in Jharkhand on July 10th, with repurcussions in the neighbouring Chhattisgarh. The bandh was called to protest against alleged police brutality in the Kolhan-Saranda region.

Post-poll mob lynching spree, bulldozer justice: NAPM seeks united resistance

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls "the horrific spree of mob lynchings across the country after the Lok Sabha election results", India's premier civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has called for "united resistance" against "hateful communal politics, mob lynching of religious minorities and caste-based oppression".

Hindutva economics? 12% decline in manufacturing enterprises, 22.5% fall in employment

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*  The messiah of Hindutva politics, Narendra Modi, assumed office as the Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014. He pledged to transform the Indian economy and deliver a developed nation with prosperous citizens. However, despite Modi's continued tenure as the Prime Minister, his ambitious electoral promises seem increasingly elusive.