Corporates and business houses donated at least ₹ 876 crore to various national political parties in the fiscal year 2018-19 and the BJP was the biggest recipient of such funds, followed by the Congress, a study conducted by poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) showed on Thursday.

While the BJP got ₹ 698 crore, the Congress came a distant second with a total amount of ₹ 122.5 crore, ADR said, citing data made public by the Election Commission of India, to which all parties are required to disclose details about donors and donations above ₹ 20,000 in a financial year.

The collective donations totalling ₹ 876.10 crore, made by corporates and business houses, accounted for nearly 92 per cent of overall donations received by various national parties during the financial year 2018-19, the report said.

"Out of five national parties, the BJP received maximum donations of ₹ 698.082 crore from 1,573 corporate donors followed by Congress which received a total contribution of ₹ 122.5 crore from 122 corporate donors, and NCP with ₹ 11.345 crore from 17 corporate donors," it said.

"Out of the total of ₹ 876.10 crore donated by the corporate/ business houses to the 5 national parties in FY 2018-19, ₹ 20.54 crore was received from the unsegregated category, which includes companies with no details available online or whose nature of work is unclear," the report said.

The report said that a total of 319 donations through which national parties received ₹ 31.42 crore do not have address details in the contribution form.

"National parties have received ₹ 13.57 crore from 34 donations which do not have PAN details in the contribution form. ₹ 13.33 crore or 99.75 per cent of such donations without PAN as well as address details worth ₹ 13.364 crore belong to the BJP," the report said.

In its recommendations, the ADR said all donors who have donated a minimum of ₹ 20,000 as a single or multiple donations should provide their PAN details.

"A total of ₹ 13.364 crore was collected by the national parties from 274 corporate donors without obtaining their PAN and address details. Such incomplete contributions reports must be returned to the parties by the ECI, to deter them from providing incomplete information," it said.

The report further recommended that corporates should make details of their political contributions available in public domain through their websites (in annual reports or in a dedicated page) for increasing transparency in political financing.

"Annual scrutiny of donations reports of National, Regional and unrecognized parties should be initiated by a dedicated department of the CBDT, to discourage donations from shell companies or illegal entities," it said.

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