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Seven Electoral Trusts, which declared receiving contributions during 2020-21, said they had received a total amount of Rs 258.4915 crore from corporates and individuals and distributed Rs 258.4301 crore to various political parties, according to an analysis by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Out of these, the BJP received Rs 212.05 crore or 82.05 per cent of the total donations received by all parties from Electoral Trusts, the report noted.

Prudent Electoral Trust, among the largest Electoral Trusts, donated Rs 209.00 crore to the BJP, in contrast to Rs 217.75 crore it contributed in 2019-20, while Jaybharath Electoral Trust donated Rs 2 crore of its total income to the BJP in 2020-21. Prudent Electoral Trust donated to seven political parties — BJP, JDU, INC, NCP, RJD, AAP and LJP.

Among corporates, Future Gaming & Hotel Services contributed the highest amount worth Rs 100 crore among all donors of the Electoral Trusts, followed by Haldia Energy India Ltd with Rs 25 crore and Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited, which contributed Rs 22 crore to various Trusts.

“As many as 159 individuals have contributed to Electoral Trusts in 2020-21. Two individuals contributed Rs 3.50 crore to Prudent Electoral Trust, 153 individuals contributed Rs 3.202 crore to Small Donations Electoral Trust and three gave a total of Rs 5 lakh to Einzigartig Electoral Trust,” the report noted.

Top 10 donors have donated Rs 223 crore to Electoral Trusts, which forms 86.27 per cent of the total donations received by the trusts during 2020-21.

Small Donations Electoral Trust donated Rs 3.31 crore to the Congress. JDU received Rs 27 crore or 10.45 per cent of the total donations received by all parties from all seven Electoral Trusts.

Other 10 political parties — INC, NCP, AIADMK, DMK, RJD, AAP, LJP, CPM, CPI and Lok Thanthrik Jantha Dal — received a total of Rs 19.23 crore collectively.

In its recommendations, ADR said: “Details of donors to these six Electoral Trusts remain unknown, thereby leading to speculation on whether donations to these trusts were only a means of getting tax exemption or a way to convert black money stashed in tax havens to white in India. Therefore, details of donors to these Electoral Trusts, which were formed before the CBDT rules came into existence, should also be disclosed. Also, the same rules which apply to those trusts formed after January 31, 2013, should also apply to the above-mentioned trusts so as to improve transparency.”

“The names of Electoral Trusts currently do not indicate the name of the company/ group of companies which set up the Trusts. In order to have greater transparency regarding details of corporations which fund political parties, it would be ideal to include the name of the parent company in the name of the Electoral Trust. Those Electoral Trusts, which have not responded to and complied with the guidelines circulated by the Election Commission should be heavily penalised as indicated in the notification issued by the EC to the Trusts,” it added.

The ADR also noted that all corporations should make details of their political contributions available in public domain through their websites for increasing transparency in political financing.

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