Black Money: Documents Show That Modi Govt Lied To Parliament About EC’s Concerns Over Electoral Bonds
The EC wrote to the govt a year ago, saying that one of the amendments "would lead to increased use of black money for political funding through shell companies."
On Monday, December 18, the Ministry of Finance told the parliament that the government had not received ‘any concerns’ from the Election Commission on India (ECI) over the issue of electoral bonds.
However, documents accessed by NewsCentral 24×7 show that the government’s claim is a lie. EC had written to the government a year ago, saying that the amendment allowing political parties to not report donations through electoral bonds was “a retrograde step as far as transparency of donation is concerned and this proviso needs to be withdrawn”.
Question No. 830, posed by Trinamool Congress MP Md. Nadimul Haque in the Rajya Sabha read, “whether it is a fact that the Election Commission has raised concerns on the issue of electoral bonds, if so, the details thereof as well as reasons thereof.”
The finance Ministry wrote in it’s reply, “The Government has not received any concerns from Election Commission on the issue of Electoral Bearer Bonds.”
NewsCentral 24×7 has accessed the letter written by the EC to the law ministry, as well as the law ministry’s office memorandum that brought the EC’s concerns to the notice of the finance ministry.
EC had said that the amendments “would lead to increased use of black money for political funding through shell companies.”
In a letter dated May 26, 2018 addressed to the Secretary of the Legislative Department of the Law Ministry, the EC wrote in reference to the amendment to section 29C of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 that, “It is evident from the amendment which has been made that any donation received by a political party through electoral bonds has been taken out of the ambit of reporting under the contribution report as prescribed under Section 29 C of the RP Act, 1951, and therefore this is a retrograde step as far as transparency of donation is concerned and this proviso needs to be withdrawn”
“Moreover, in a situation where contributions received through electoral bonds are not reported, on perusal of the contribution reports of the political parties, it cannot be ascertained whether the political party has taken any donation in violation of provisions under Section 29B of the RP Act which prohibits political parties from taking donations from government companies and foreign sources,” said the letter.
Regarding the amendment to section 182 of the Companies Act, 2013, the EC said that it would, “open the possibility of shell companies being set up for the sole purpose of making donations to political parties, with no other business of consequence having disbursable profits”. EC also said that the amendment to Section 182(3) would “compromise transparency.”
EC had also said that the amendment to Section 182 “would lead to increased use of black money for political funding through shell companies.”
On July 3, 2017, K.K. Saxena, deputy secretary to the law ministry, wrote to the finance ministry about the EC’s concerns.