5 Mar 2024

SBI seeks extension in deadline to disclose electoral bond details; what Congress said?

In response to the State Bank of India's request for an extended deadline to disclose electoral bond details, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge accused the BJP government of employing the bank as a cover for its alleged questionable dealings. The SBI, India's largest bank, had sought an extension until June 30, contrary to the Supreme Court's initial deadline of March 6 for revealing bond information.

Kharge criticized the electoral bonds scheme, labeling it as opaque and undemocratic, and claimed that the Modi government was using the SBI to conceal its dubious actions. He expressed concern that the BJP aimed to postpone the disclosure until after the Lok Sabha elections. Kharge asserted that the BJP was the primary beneficiary of the scheme, raising suspicions about potential irregularities in contracts for infrastructure projects.

Questioning the need for a four-month extension, Kharge emphasized that experts suggested the information could be compiled in just 24 hours. He accused the Modi government of undermining various institutions to accumulate funds for the BJP through the controversial electoral bonds scheme.

Congress MP Manish Tewari urged the Supreme Court not to allow the SBI to escape accountability, emphasizing the importance of transparency before the upcoming General Elections. 

Why SBI is hesitant to disclose information as directed by SC: Rahul

Rahul Gandhi also criticized Narendra Modi for attempting to conceal the "donation business" and questioned why the SBI was hesitant to disclose information as directed by the Supreme Court.

Rahul wrote on Twitter, “Narendra Modi has used all his strength to hide the ‘donation business’. When the Supreme Court has said that it is the right of the countrymen to know the truth about electoral bonds, then why does SBI want this information not to be made public before the elections?

Rahul said, "Asking for time till June 30 for information that can be retrieved with one click shows that the are trying to cover up the corruption. This is the ‘last attempt’ to hide Modi’s ‘real face’ before the elections.”

Expressing disappointment over SBI's petition, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury wrote on Twitter, "This will be a travesty of justice. Is SBI asking for more time so that it can save BJP and Modi in the Lok Sabha elections?

In its plea, the SBI explained the time-consuming nature of retrieving anonymous donation data stored in separate databases. The Supreme Court had previously declared the electoral bonds scheme a violation of the right to information and the right to freedom of speech and expression.

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