Congress seeks special probe into electoral bonds scheme; demands freezing of BJP's bank accounts

Kharge claims BJP 'misused' central agencies to 'coerce' potential donors

mallikarjun-karge-naik Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge | Kritajna Naik

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, on Friday, slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alleging that the PM was “corrupt” and the Supreme Court exposed how the BJP made money through electoral bonds.

Kharge claimed that the BJP “misused” the central agencies to “coerce” potential donors to part with huge sums of money. Hinting that there was a possibility of trade-offs between the donors and Modi government, Kharge demanded a special inquiry into the electoral bonds scheme and freezing of BJP’s bank accounts till the completion of the investigation.

Addressing a press meet at KPCC office in Bengaluru, Kharge said, “Prime minister used to claim 'Na Khaunga Na Khane Dunga’ (I will neither take bribe nor allow others to take bribe). But today, the Supreme Court just exposed how the BJP has made money out of the electoral bonds. The data released by the State Bank of India shows that BJP got 50 per cent of all donations, while Congress got only 11 per cent. If you look at the voting pattern, Congress holds one-third of the votes, while the rest, including the BJP, make up for two-thirds of all votes. However, when it comes to donations, the BJP got more than 50 per cent. This shows there are many dubious donors, who were embroiled in ED or IT cases. It appears the Modi government and the BJP pressurised these people to part with more donations. There is no other reason why BJP would get such a huge share of the donations.”

“Our account which had Rs 300 crore has been made inoperative. But BJP has Rs 6,000 crore in its accounts. Now, how do you expect us to go for elections? Where is the level playing field? I demand a probe on how the BJP raised such a huge sum as I suspect the donors received favours or were coerced into purchasing the electoral bonds. Did the government offer to close the cases against some of these donors in exchange for bonds? Some who were labelled as corrupt suddenly became “clean” after joining the BJP. Some got important positions too,” claimed Kharge.

Earlier, Rajya Sabha member Ajay Maken pointed out that the Election Commission of India website, on the orders of SC, had put up a list of all those who purchased the bonds. “The list has exposed a saga of corruption and high-handedness of the BJP as it has misused the electoral bonds as instruments of corruption. As per the list, a total of 22,217 bonds were issued since 2018. But the website had details of only 18,871 bonds. The details pertaining to 3,346 bonds amounting to Rs 2,500 crore is not available. Now, who is the Modi government trying to shield is the big question. Second, as the Congress president has demanded, there should be an investigation directly under the supervision of the Supreme Court. The probe should link the IT, ED notices issued and raids carried out to the electoral bonds purchased. The names of some companies tell us they are the same companies that were raided and issued notices by the central agencies. They were forced to purchase the bonds and give to the BJP,” said Maken adding that a major disparity was in the share of bonds.

“The ruling party holds more than 50 per cent of the bonds but the principal opposition has only 11 per cent share. This is a difference of 39 per cent and in the last elections, the difference was only 17 per cent. This clearly proves that the BJP government used coercion through central agencies to get more bonds for the party. The BJP’s bank account should be immediately frozen as the SC has said the Electoral Bond Scheme is unconstitutional and has scrapped the scheme. Now how can it allow BJP to use that money for conducting elections,” asked Maken, who ridiculed the government for freezing the Congress party’s bank account over an old and “frivolous” case.

“IT department has frozen the Congress party’s account which had Rs 300 crore, on frivolous grounds. How can they freeze the account just three weeks before the announcement of the elections? The BJP is allowed to use the ill-gotten money procured in an obscure manner from big corporate houses using force by IT and ED. The Congress had got money through its partyworkers and through crowd sourcing by NSUI. But all that money is now in the frozen account,” rued Maken.

Answering a question, Kharge clarified that his party would decide on the next course of action at the working committee meeting to be held shortly. “I will consult my party members. I am not a Modi and I believe in consultation,” taunted Kharge.


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