A Right to Information (RTI) query has revealed that most of the political funding through electoral bonds happened during the three months in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls last year. The RTI mentioned that out of the total 12,313 bonds worth Rs 6,128.72 crore sold between March 2018 and October 2019, 71 per cent were sold during the election months of March, April and May.
The RTI application filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) sought complete information about the bonds. The reply showed that highest - 4,681 bonds - worth Rs 2,256.37 crore which amounts to 36.82 per cent of the total were purchased during Phase Nine of the Lok Sabha polls in April 2019. It was followed by 2,742 electoral bonds worth Rs 1,365.68 crore or 22.28 per cent that were purchased in Phase Eight in March. In May, 1,187 electoral bonds worth Rs 822.26 crore amounting to 13.42 per cent were purchased.
Highest value of bonds was sold in Mumbai, followed by Kolkata and Delhi, the RTI reply showed. Mumbai witnessed the maximum (by value) sale of 2,899 bonds worth Rs 1,879.96 crore (30.67%), followed by 3,478 bonds worth Rs 1,440.337 crore (23.50%) in Kolkata and 1,630 bonds worth Rs 918.58 crore (15%) in New Delhi.
A total of 8,903 electoral bonds worth Rs 4,917.51 crore or 80.50 per cent of the total bonds that were redeemed between March 2018 and October 2019 were in New Delhi, followed by 1,255 bonds worth Rs 512.30 crore or 8.39 per cent in Hyderabad and 484 bonds worth Rs 236.50 crore or 3.87 per cent in Bhubaneshwar.
Between the inception of the electoral bonds scheme in March 2018 and October 2019, bonds were available for purchase over a period of 12 phases. Each phase had a sale period of 10 days, except for the months of March, April and May in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections. In each phase, 15 days were allotted to encash the received bonds.