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Rediff.com  » News » How Many Sensex Companies Bought Electoral Bonds?

How Many Sensex Companies Bought Electoral Bonds?

By Krishna Kant
March 30, 2024 09:58 IST
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Collectively, these companies spent Rs 628 crore (Rs 6.28 billion) on political contributions in the past five years, according to their annual reports.

IMAGE: Kindly note the image has been posted only for representational purposes. Photograph: Kind courtesy F1 Digitals/Pixabay.com
 

Only eight of 30 companies that are part of the BSE Sensex Index have disclosed their purchases of electoral bonds or other financial contributions to political parties in their annual reports at least once in the past five financial years.

Collectively, these companies spent Rs 628 crore (Rs 6.28 billion) on political contributions in the past five years, according to their annual reports.

Telecom major Bharti Airtel led the pack with a total contribution of Rs 241 crore (Rs 2.41 billion), followed by Tata Steel (Rs 175 crore/Rs 1.75 billion) and Larsen & Toubro (Rs 85 crore/Rs 850 million).

Bharti Airtel stood out as the only Sensex company that consistently made political contributions each year, in the past five financial years.

According to its annual reports, the company and its subsidiaries collectively donated Rs 241 crore to political parties between FY19 and FY23, either through electoral bonds or contributions to electoral trusts.

'Other expenses include political contributions amounting to Rs 300 million (Rs 30 crore) and Rs 1,025 million (Rs 102.5 crore) made under Section 182 of the Act (Companies Act, 2013) during the year ended March 31, 2023 and March 31, 2022 respectively,' said Bharti Airtel in its annual report for 2022-23.

In contrast, other index companies in Business Standard's list only sporadically reported expenditures on electoral bonds or donations to political parties in their annual reports.

For instance, L&T and Mahindra & Mahindra each reported making political donations twice in their annual reports in the past five years.

L&T purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 35 crore (Rs 350 million) and Rs 50 crore (Rs 500 million) in FY19 and FY20 respectively, while M&M contributed Rs 1.02 crore (Rs 10.2 million) and Rs 23 crore (Rs 230 million) to the New Democratic Electoral Trust in FY19 and FY20, respectively.

Neither company mentioned any other political donations or electoral bond purchases in subsequent years.

'The company purchased electoral bonds for Rs 50 crore and issued the same to political parties as the company's political contribution,' mentioned L&T in its annual report for 2019-20.

Tata Steel, which reported a donation of Rs 175 crore (Rs 1.75 billion) to an electoral trust in its 2018-2019 annual report, does not appear in the Election Commission's database of companies that purchased electoral bonds.

Five other index companies disclosed donations to political parties only once in the past five financial years.

These were UltraTech Cement (Rs 23 crore/Rs 230 million in FY19), Bajaj Finance (Rs 20 crore/Rs 200 million in FY20), Maruti Suzuki (Rs 20 crore in FY23), and Tech Mahindra (Rs 15 crore/Rs 150 million in FY20).

Notably, Sun Pharmaceuticals, despite having purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 31.5 crore (Rs 315 million) since FY19 according to the Election Commission data, did not mention this or any other political contributions in any of its annual reports in the past five years.

It just lists expenses on donations without providing their break-up.

On the other end of the spectrum, NTPC, Asian Paints, and Tech Mahindra (since the past two years) explicitly state in their annual reports that they do not make any financial contributions to political parties.

Asian Paints, for example, wrote in its 2022-2023 annual report: 'No donation has been made by the company to any political party or any other organisations linked to any political party.'

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/Rediff.com

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Krishna Kant
Source: source
 
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