New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received the highest amount of donations from electoral trusts (ETs) in fiscal year 2021-22, at Rs 351.50 crore making up 72.17 per cent of the total donations received by all parties, as per a detailed report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The Prudent ET donated the highest amount (Rs 336.50 crore) to the BJP, against Rs 209 crore contributed in FY 2020-21. AB General ET and Samaj ET donated Rs 10 crore and Rs 5 crore to the BJP in FY 2021-22, respectively.
After BJP, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) received the second highest amount of Rs 40 crore, with Prudent ET being the only donor.
The Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have received a total of Rs 18.43 crore and Rs 21.12 crore from ETs, respectively.
While there is only Rs 0.19 crore difference in the donations made by the Prudent ET to both parties, Independent ET donated Rs 4.81 crore to the AAP, making AAP the bigger receiver compared to Congress. Small Donations ET donated only Rs 1.9351 cr to the Congress.
Moreover, the Prudent ET donated to nine political parties, including the TRS, the Samajwadi Party, the YSR Congress, the Shiromani Akali Dal, the Punjab Lok Congress Party, and the Goa Forward Party.
Six ETs, that have declared receiving contributions from different corporates and individuals during FY 2021-22, received a total amount of Rs 487.0856 crore and distributed Rs 487.0551 crore (99.994 per cent) to various political parties.
However, details of donors to these six ETs 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 money in India, the ADR said.
According to the ADR, details of donors to these ETs, which were formed before the Central Board of Direct Taxes rules came into existence, should also be disclosed.
In FY 21-22, 89 corporate/business houses contributed Rs 475.8021 crore to ETs out of which 62 contributed Rs 456.30 crore to Prudent ET, two contributed Rs 10 crore to AB General ET, three contributed Rs 5 crore to Samaj ET, and 15 contributed Rs 2.20 crore to Independent ET.
As many as 40 individuals have contributed to ETs in FY 2021-22. Prudent ET has received the highest contribution compared to Independent ET and Small Donation ET. Top 10 donors have donated Rs 331 crore to ETs, which forms 67.96 per cent of the total donations received by the trusts during FY 2021-22.
Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India Ltd contributed the highest amount, Rs 70 crore amongst all donors of the ETs, followed by Acrelor Mittal Design and Engg Centre Pvt Ltd with Rs 60 crore, and Bharti Airtel Ltd which contributed Rs 51 crore, to various Trusts.
Furthermore, the ADR has observed that 10 (62.50 per cent) of the 16 ETs that submitted their annual reports for FY 2021-22 declared that they received nil contributions in that year.
“This raises a question on the continuation of the registration of such electoral trusts that fail to fulfill their primary objective of distributing contributions received by them to the political parties concerned,” it said.
According to the ADR, the contribution reports for FY 2021-22 of seven out of 23 registered ETs are not available on the website of the Election Commission, even after two months since the deadline.