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Electoral bonds: Is poll panel quiescent, not living up to its Constitutional mandate?

Counterview Desk 
Former civil servants’ organisation, Constitutional Conduct Group (CCG), in a letter to the Election Commission of India (ECI), has sought action on what it calls “brazen efforts by the State Bank of India to delay provision of information on electoral bonds, as directed by the Supreme Court of India.”
Addressed to Rajiv Kumar, Chief Election Commissioner, and his colleague, Arun Goel, Election Commissioner, the letter insists, “If the ECI remains quiescent, it will not live up to its Constitutional mandate of respecting the right to information of Indian voters and of holding free and fair elections on a level playing field. That would be a death blow for democracy in India as we know it.”

Text:

We are a group of former civil servants of the All India and Central Services who have worked in the Central and State Governments during our careers. As a group, we have no affiliation with any political party but believe in impartiality, neutrality and commitment to the Constitution of India.
We are writing to you with reference to the extraordinary request of the State Bank of India (SBI) to the Supreme Court of India (SCI) to extend the time to submit information regarding electoral bonds till June 30, 2024, by which time the elections to Parliament would be over. We note with dismay that it took SBI seventeen days to inform the Court on 4th March that they are not in a position to collate the data by 6th March. For India’s largest bank with 48 crore accounts and boasting high levels of digitization, a pathetic excuse has been proffered that records were kept manually and hence the extension sought. Thomas Franco, former General Secretary of the All India Banking Officers Confederation, has pointed out that SBI had asked the Government of India by a letter of June 2018 for a sum of more than Rs 60 lakhs for development of IT systems for the electoral bond scheme. In the same piece, Franco has also published an RTI reply that gives, in just a period of six days, details of bonds sold over six  years.  Subhash Chandra Garg, Finance Secretary at the time of finalization of the scheme (and a defender of it), has said in interviews that it should not take more than ten minutes to get the information sought. He also makes the important point that the SCI has not asked for details linking the purchase of bonds with the political parties to whom they have been given; so, the demand for time is wholly unjustified.  
This is an opportunity for the ECI to reclaim its reputation and its integrity by using its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution
While striking down the scheme of electoral bonds as unconstitutional, the SCI had flagged both the right to information of the citizens of India to know about funding of political parties and how there would be no level playing field if one party got undue financial advantage. The SBI’s denying this information and indicating that it would not be available before the general elections seems to indicate that the SBI is shielding the Government in power from any criticism that there was a quid pro quo between the bonds and favours given to some firms or raids/intimidation to pressurize the corporates to fall in line. The media portals Newslaundry and News Minute have already published material linking thirty corporates and their purchase of bonds worth about Rs 335 crore in the previous five years to the blatant misuse of enforcement agencies to make these corporates fall in line.
We would like to reference the letter of March 6, 2024, written by EAS Sarma, a former Secretary to the Government of India, in which he has requested the ECI not only to freeze any unspent funds of political parties from the scheme but also not to publish the schedule of elections till the SBI gives the information ordered by the SCI. We note that the term of the present Lok Sabha is up to June 16, 2024, and to complete the election in time, the ECI could announce the schedule by March 27, or even earlier. The SBI should give the electoral bonds data much before the announcement of the elections.  This is an opportunity for the ECI to reclaim its reputation and its integrity by using its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution. As Shri Sarma has suggested, it should direct the SBI to immediately release the information.  The ECI should also make it clear that it will not announce the schedule for the 2024 general elections till the SBI furnishes this information. If the ECI remains quiescent, it will not live up to its Constitutional mandate of respecting the right to information of Indian voters and of holding free and fair elections on a level playing field. That would be a death blow for democracy in India as we know it.
Satyameva Jayate
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Click here for signatories 

Comments

SAMIR SARDANA said…
AS THE WORLD WILL SEE ON 21ST

SBI WILL NOT GIVE AFFIDAVIT

SOME OF THE REDEEMED BONDS ARE MISSING

AND

MANY KYC FORMS WILL BE MISSING !

KYC MISSING MEANS THAT BUYER AND BOND NUMBER AND BJP CANNOT BE LINKED !

BUT THEN THERE WILL BE A BANK ENTRY !

NOW HERE AGAIN,PEOPLE WILL FIND THAT MANY OF THE “INDIVIDUAL” NAMES ARE BOGUS – WITH REAL AADHAR AND PAN !

THESE INDIVIDUALS WIRED MONEY FROM ACCOUNTS OPENED A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE EB AND NOW HAVE VANISHED ! ALL ADDRESSES ARE BOGUS ! LIKE IN DEMO !

SAME WILL APPLY FOR TRUSTS AND SOCIETIES !

NOW WE COME TO COMPANIES !

COMPANY “A” BUYS A BOND ! BUT THE PAYMENT IS FROM PERSON X !

KYC IS OF “A” – BUT PERSON X HAS OPENED A BOGUS BANK ACCOUNT JUST TO WIRE THE MONEY AND NOW HAS VANISHED !

NOW FOR “X” SBI HAS LOST THE KYC PAPERS !

NOW SOME WILL SAY THAT SBI HAD IRC (INWARD REMITTANCE CERTIFICATES) OF RS 1000 CRORES ON 1 DAY IN 100 TRANCHES OF 10 CRORES FROM 100 DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS – BUT IF THE KYC IS LOST THEN HOW WILL SBI KNOW WHICH 10 CRORES WAS FOR WHICH PARTY AND WHICH BOND NUMBER – UNLESS THE BOND NUMBER HAS A LINK TO THE IRC DATE AND IRC . SO SPMCL WILL HAVE 2 BOND NUMBER S ! 1 IS THE SPMCL NUMBER AND THE 2ND IS SBI NUMBER PRINTED BY SBI USING SPMCL TECHNOLOGY !

MAMMA MIA !

THAT IS Y YOU HAD THE ROUND FIGURE OF RS 1 CRORE PER BOND !

AND THAT IS Y THE DATA WAS KEPT MANUAL ! IT COULD HAVE BEEN FED (ONE WAY FEEDING WITH NO REPORTS OR PRINT OUTS) AND PASSWOED CHECKED BY CMD + BANKING SECRETARY ! – AND STAND ALONE -OFF THE WEB

BUT SBI KEPT IT MANUAL – SO THAT KYC FORMS CAN BE DESTROYED ! THE LINK TO THE 1ST BEARER OF THE BEARER BONDS ! ONCE KYC IS GONE,ANY DONOR CAN DENY THE BOND ! THE BANK TRANSFER WILL PROVE BOND BUYING BUT NOT LINK IT TO BOND NUMBER,AND THUS,THE BJP !

AND THAT WAS THE PLAN ! FROM DAY 1 !

SPMCL PRINTED THE BONDS ! IT COULD HAVE PLACED A SECRET CODE ON THE BOND LINKING THE BOND TO THE INWARD REMITTANCE COORDINATES OF THE BANK TRANSFER ! THAT WOULD HAVE NAILED THE MATRIX ! MAYBE THAT CODE IS THERE ! – AND SBI IS LYING !

THIS IS REALITY OF INDIA ! dindooohindoo

SAMIR SARDANA said…
THE PLANNING OF CHAIWALA AND SBI

RTI ACT HAS A SECTION 22 WHICH SUPERESEDES ALL LAWS INCLUDING AEMYY ACT AND OSA

RTU ACT HAS A SECTION 7(9),WHICH STAES THAT INFORMATION “NOT READILY AVAILABLE”,IF SOUGHT IN A “fORM” CAN BE DENIED IF IT REQUIRES DISPROPORTIONATE EFFORT

TO PREEMPT THE RTI ACT ON EB,SBI DID NOT KEY IN THE EB DATA INTO THE CBS OF TCS !

SBI IT CELL COULD HAVE MADE A SOFTWARE TO “KEY IN” ALL THE BOND BUYERS AND REDEEMERS” DATA WOTH BOND NUMBERS — AND NO TOOL TO MAKE MIS REPORTS OR COPY DATA – JUST LIKE IN BARC AND NPCIL,BUT THEY DID NOT !

Y ?

AS NOW THEY CAN CLAIM THAT THE “RAW DATA”IS AVAILABLEL . BUT BOND NUMBER WISE DATA IS NOT “READILY AVAILABLE” U/S 7(9) OF THE RTI ACT -IN THE ” FORM” THAT THE SUPREME COURT SEEKS !

SO UNTILE THE 14TH OF FEB 2024, THE RTI APPLICANT HAD NO CHANCE TO GET THIS INFORMATION !

NOW WITH THE SC JUDGEMENT, THE PRECEDENT FOR “PUBLIC INTEREST” TO JUSTIFY A PUBLIC AUTHORITY TO MAKE RAW DATA INTO READILY AVAILABLE DATA IN THE FORM SOUGHT BH THE APPLICANT IS SET !

AND THAT IS THE REVOLUTION ! dindooohindoo

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