Even as the latest Electoral Bonds (EB ) data released by SBI to the Election Commission clarifies the donors who backed specific political parties, it leaves some unanswered questions. 

businessline’s analysis of the two sets of data released by the State Bank of India (SBI) on Thursday —bonds encashed by political parties and bonds purchased by donors—shows that some bonds encashed by political parties do not have a donor name mapped to them. 

There were 1,679 bonds valued at ₹623.2 crore encashed by various political parties for which the donors name could not be matched. Of the ₹623 crore, the BJP encashed ₹466 crore, the Congress around ₹70 crore, and the Trinamool Congress around ₹17 crore. 

It is noted that all the bonds not mapped to donors were encashed in the period between April 12 and April 25, 2019. The omission seems to have happened because the Supreme Court directed the SBI to disclose all details of electoral bonds purchased and encashed since April 12, 2019. Though these bonds were encashed after the cut-off date, they were purchased in the period before the date, so the donors could not be mapped to them.

Further analysis also showed that for 130 bonds worth around ₹9.63 crore purchased by donors from April 2019 to January 2024 do not have encashment dates or political parties mapped. This could either relate to bonds that were not handed by the donors to the respective political parties, or those that expired before being encashed. businessline could not ascertain which category they belong to.

The bonds which seem to have expired, without being encashed, were also issued by many of the larger donors including Future Gaming, Pacifica Developers, Sylvanus Builders, Utkal Alumina, and Prakash Distillery. Interestingly, this list also includes bond number ‘OT15103’ purchased by investigative journalist Poonam Agarwal on October 20, 2020. Agarwal is an investigative journalist who bought bonds in 2018 and 2020 to prove the existence of alphanumeric numbers on EBs. 

The Supreme Court struck down EB donations as unconstitutional on February 15, following which it ordered the State Bank of India to reveal the names of parties and donors to the Election Commission. On Thursday, SBI submitted the data in two parts—one containing details of bonds encashed by political parties starting April 12, 2019, and the other consisting of bonds purchased by various individuals and corporates from April 12, 2019.