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Infosys, along with two other IT firms, contributed to political parties through electoral bonds, with Cyient being the largest donor

The recent disclosure by the Election Commission of India (ECI) revealed that Cyient, an IT company, emerged as the largest donor among three IT firms that contributed to political parties through electoral bonds. Alongside Infosys Ltd., Cyient Ltd., and Zensar Technologies Ltd., several IT and engineering services companies participated in the now-defunct electoral bonds scheme, as indicated by data submitted to the ECI by the State Bank of India (SBI).

Cyient emerged as the top donor among the three IT companies, having donated Rs 10 crore through the electoral funding scheme. However, the recipients of the funding from Cyient have not been identified yet. Infosys, a prominent IT player, contributed Rs 1 crore to former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal (Secular) during the Karnataka assembly elections in 2018. On the other hand, Zensar Technologies donated Rs 3 crore to undisclosed political parties through electoral bonds in May 2019.

The disclosed data further revealed the distribution of donations among political parties. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received the highest amount of donations through electoral bonds, totaling Rs 6,986.5 crore since the inception of the scheme in 2018. Following the BJP, other major recipients included the Trinamool Congress (Rs 1,397 crore), the Congress (Rs 1,334 crore), and the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (Rs 1,322 crore).

The top purchaser of electoral bonds was Future Gaming and Hotel Services, owned by lottery mogul Santiago Martin. Future Gaming procured electoral bonds worth Rs 1,368 crore, with a significant portion of around 37 percent directed towards the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK). Additionally, Future Gaming and Hotel Services donated Rs 509 crore to the DMK through the electoral funding scheme. Another noteworthy contributor was the Janata Dal (Secular), which received bonds worth Rs 89.75 crore, including a substantial contribution of Rs 50 crore from Megha Engineering, the second-largest buyer of electoral bonds.

Other political parties that encashed significant amounts of electoral bonds included the Biju Janata Dal (Rs 944.50 crore), the Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (Rs 442.80 crore), the Telugu Desam Party (Rs 181.35 crore), the Samajwadi Party (Rs 14.05 crore), the Shiromani Akali Dal (Rs 7.26 crore), and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (Rs 6.05 crore).

The disclosure of electoral bonds data sheds light on the financial contributions made by various entities to political parties in India. While the BJP emerged as the largest recipient, other parties also received substantial funding through this mechanism. The information underscores the importance of transparency and accountability in political financing, prompting discussions on electoral funding reforms to ensure fairness and integrity in the democratic process.

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