A total of Rs 660 crore worth of electoral bonds were encashed in Delhi through the 23rd tranche

State Bank of India (SBI) says election bonds worth Rs 676.2 crore were sold between November 9 and November 15 when campaigning for the Gujarat Assembly elections was in full swing.

According to information provided by the SBI in response to Kanhaiya Kumar’s RTI request, the Mumbai branch sold Rs 309.4 crore worth of electoral bonds, followed by Delhi with Rs 225.4 crore, Hyderabad (Rs 89 crore), Gandhinagar (Rs 37.5 crore), Jaipur (Rs 5.81 crore), Kolkata (Rs 5 crore), Bengaluru (Rs 3 crore), and Chandigarh (Rs 1 crore).

The SBI reply said all but one bond of the Rs 1,000 denomination that was sold in the 23rd tranche from November 9 to November 15 was encashed. SBI’s branch in New Delhi, where national parties are based, encashed most bonds (Rs 660.2 crore). This time, Hyderabad was the only branch where electoral bonds worth Rs 16 crore were cashed.

Electoral bonds were sold for the first time since the Union Finance Ministry amended the Electoral Bond Scheme-2018 on November 7 to allow 15 more days of sales. Until then, SBI sold electoral bonds every 10 days in January, April, July and October, and an extra 30 days in Lok Sabha elections.

The 24th tranche of electoral bonds went on sale last week from December 5 to December 12. With an avowed goal of increasing transparency of political funding, then-Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced the scheme in the Budget 2017-18.

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