India court asks SBI for data to link political fund donors, recipients


Reuters :
India’s Supreme Court ordered the State Bank of India (SBI) on Monday to submit all the details of so-called electoral bonds issued under an opaque political funding system, just a month before general elections.
The further details of the controversial funding mechanism, introduced in 2017 but subsequently scrapped, are expected to make public information linking donors to political parties over the last five years, and the size of their donations.
Corporate funding of political parties is a sensitive matter in India, where the February scrapping of electoral bonds, along with the publicising of the names of donors and recipients, has become a hot topic ahead of elections due by May.
The Supreme Court gave the state-run lender until Thursday to provide the Election Commission of India with the unique identification numbers of the bonds, so as to allow donors to be matched with recipients.
“You have to disclose all details … we must have finality to it,” Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said.
The election commission, in its turn, was directed to make the information public “forthwith”.
Last week, the commission made public some data on donations made since April 2019 under the funding mechanism that allowed anonymous unlimited donations by companies and individuals using the electoral bonds.