Only the corrupt are resisting electoral bonds: Piyush Goyal

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 21, 2019

Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal   -  THE HINDU

Commerce Minister rubbishes Congress claims about electoral bonds facilitating money-laundering and asserts that RBI and ECI’s concerns have been addressed

BJP on Thursday defended electoral bonds as a right step towards transparency and “clean” funding of elections and condemned the Congress demand for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into the bonds as a sign of frustration of the “corrupt who have been rejected by the people”.

Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said between March, 2017 when the electoral bonds were introduced through the Finance Bill and January 2 when they were notified, detailed discussions were held with the Election Commission and the Reserve Bank of India and their concerns were adequately addressed. The Minister underlined that it was a step towards introducing clean money in politics and only the corrupt are opposed to it.

“This was a big step towards bringing in transparency. For the first time, we put a stop to corruption and black money being pumped into politics. The Congress is steeped in corruption, from Bofors, to Coalgate and their Prime Minister going with suitcases full of cash, Congress is a metaphor for corruption. Cash worth crores has been found in senior Congress leaders’ homes. They have used black money for a long time. We are the only party which has acted against black money and promoted transparency and clean money,” said Goyal.

The Congress has cited various tranches of communication between Prime Minister’s Office and the Election Commission as well as RBI and the Finance Ministry to allege that electoral bonds are a “fraud” because neither the donor nor the recipient political party need to disclose the source of funds and unlimited amount of money can be donated without any accountability. The opposition party had staged a walkout from Parliament earlier in the day, demanding a JPC probe into electoral bonds after it was revealed that the PMO directed the Finance Ministry to open extra windows for political donations via electoral bonds for different assembly elections.

Goyal responded by saying that to channel “honest money” flow into conduct of assembly elections, electoral bonds were facilitated.

“Why was this opened for two elections? Assembly elections come repeatedly, that is why these bonds were opened. This was done for transparency and use of honest money in assembly elections. It was done in national interest,” said Goyal.

The Minister asserted that this is the first time that donors, whose KYC norms have been verified by the SBI, channel money legally to political parties.

“The Congress is levelling false allegations. Earlier, the practice was that individuals would take money and not deposit in the party. But now money comes to political parties only through specified SBI branches after following proper KYC norms. Proper tax-paid, honest money is allowed. The atmosphere of fear that prevented people from giving money through banks no longer exists. These bonds are only given to donors who have established KYC norms. Their identity is protected so that they are not harassed. Only in one bank can the bonds be encashed. Anti-forgery features have been established. They are non-transferable and allowed only for 15 days limit, cash donations and shell donations has been stopped. The Government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made history by closing down lakhs of shell companies. SBI is carefully verifying KYC norms of donors and still, these baseless allegations are being levelled,” said Goyal.

Published on November 21, 2019

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