Congress Slams SBI Plea for Extension on Electoral Bond Data Disclosure

New Delhi: The State Bank of India’s (SBI) request for a deadline extension to disclose information on electoral bond donations has sparked controversy, with the Congress party accusing the BJP of using SBI as a shield to conceal donor identities.

The Supreme Court had declared the electoral bond scheme unconstitutional on February 15th, citing a violation of citizen’s right to information. The court ordered SBI to cease issuing bonds and furnish details of past transactions to the Election Commission by March 6th. The Election Commission was then tasked with publishing this data on its website by March 13th. However, SBI has petitioned the court for an extension until June 30th.

Congress leader Supriya Shrinate criticized the request, highlighting SBI’s vast digital infrastructure. “SBI is a fully computerized bank. It shouldn’t require five months to furnish data on a mere 22,217 bonds,” she stated. Shrinate further pointed out the significant sums involved, alleging that nearly two-thirds of the ₹12,000 crore collected through electoral bonds between 2017 and 2023 went to the BJP, with Congress receiving a meagre 9%.

Shrinate questioned the lack of transparency, stating, “Do citizens not have the right to know who funds political parties?” She expressed concern about potential quid pro quo arrangements and accused the SBI and government of attempting to conceal donor identities.

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