PIL in SC seeks SIT probe into electoral bond ‘scam’

New Delhi: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed before the Supreme Court seeking a probe by the Special Investigative Team (SIT) under the supervision of a retired judge of the apex into the “electoral bond scam”.

The plea filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan said that the electoral bond data — revealed on top court’s directions — shows that the bulk of the bonds appear to have been given as quid pro quo arrangements by corporates to political parties for getting contracts, licences and leases from the governments or authorities.

Further, it alleged that electoral bonds were given by corporates to political parties as a consideration for favourable policy changes and in close proximity to action by agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Income Tax or Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Several firms which were under investigation by these agencies have donated large sums of money to the ruling party, potentially to influence the outcomes of probes, the petition claimed.

“Though these apparent payoffs amount to several thousand crores, they appear to have influenced contracts worth lakhs of crores and regulatory inaction by agencies worth of thousands of crores and also appear to have allowed substandard or dangerous drugs to be sold in the market, endangering the lives of millions of people in the country,” the plea stated.

It added that the data disclosed on electoral bonds indicated that at least 20 companies bought electoral bonds within three years of their incorporation worth more than Rs 100 crore and in some cases, the companies were just a few months old when they purchased bonds, in flagrant violation of the provisions of the Companies Act.

The plea filed by NGO Common Cause said that the data has further shown that various loss-making companies and shell companies were donating huge sums to political parties through electoral bonds and the introduction of electoral bonds led to the mushrooming of shell companies, which were used by corporate houses as conduits to launder illicit money.

Further, it stated that the electoral bond scam has a money trail unlike the 2G Scam or the Coal Scam, where court-monitored investigations were ordered despite no evidence of a money trail.

“Thus, the investigation in this case would not only need to unravel the entire conspiracy in each instance, which would involve officers of the company, officials of the government and functionaries of political parties but also the officers concerned of agencies like the ED/IT and CBI etc., who appear to have become part of this conspiracy,” said the petition, calling for a probe by SIT of investigating officers of impeccable integrity chosen by the top court and working under the supervision of a retired SC judge.

IANS

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