Issued in multiple values of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore, these electoral bonds can only be encashed by political parties. (Photo Credit: PTI File Photo)
The controversy surrounding the electoral bonds rocked the Lok Sabha on Thursday with the Congress alleging that the entire scheme was a scam. Dubbing it as a political bribery, the Congress launched a scathing attack against the Modi government both inside and outside Parliament. In Lok Sabha, Congress lawmaker Manish Tewari said that, “I want to draw the attention of the House towards electoral bonds. The electoral bond scheme was limited to elections. A 2018 RTI revealed that government overruled the Reserve Bank of India on electoral bonds.” Latest media reports on Thursday claimed that then RBI Governor Urjit Patel had warned the Modi government against the electoral bonds.
A Telegraph report said that the ex-RBI governor wrote at least three letters to then finance minister Arun Jaitley in 2017 warning that allowing anyone other than the central bank to issue electoral bonds is fraught with risk and that the entire exercise could undermine the positives of demonetisation.
Another senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor slammed the government and said that, “when electoral bonds were introduced, many of us had raised serious objections about how it could easily become a way for rich corporations and individuals to influence improperly political parties, particularly the ruling party.”
On Wednesday, the Congress had raised the issue in the Rajya Sabha and demanded the government must disclose all details about electoral bonds before Parliament, alleging that the scheme resulted in money laundering and destroyed transparency in the funding of political parties.
Describing electoral bonds as a "political bribery scheme", the opposition party said it was a scam that tarnished the image of the Indian democracy. "What we are talking about today leads straight to the PM's office. The BJP govt is running 90 per cent of the business in this country with a few industrialists," senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said. He alleged that the scheme of electoral bonds resulted in money laundering and destroyed transparency in the funding of political parties.
The Grand Old Party of India further claimed that the government introduced the scheme by ignoring the objections of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and that it was a way of political extortion of money.