Political donations Future Gaming and Hotel Services

A leading lottery company has emerged as the top contributor to political donations in India, according to recent reports. These donations were made through an electoral bonds scheme, which allowed individuals and companies to remain anonymous. Future Gaming and Hotel Services stood out as the largest donor, acquiring bonds worth a staggering 13 billion rupees ($156.7 million, £123 million) between April 2019 and January 2024. The company was founded in 1991 by Santiago Martin, known as the ‘Lottery King’ of India.

Bharatiya Janata Party donations

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was the primary beneficiary, receiving nearly half of the total bonds valued at 120 billion rupees donated between 2018 and 2024. The electoral bonds scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in 2018 under the premise of enhancing transparency in political funding. However, critics argue that it had the opposite effect, rendering the process more opaque.

In a significant development last month, India’s Supreme Court declared the scheme unconstitutional and directed the Election Commission to disclose donation details to the public. Subsequently, the government-operated State Bank of India (SBI) was tasked with disclosing bond data to election officials.

The electoral bonds scheme

Under the scheme, donors could purchase bonds in fixed denominations ranging from 1,000 to 10 million rupees (approximately $12 to $121,000; £9 to £94,182) from branches of the SBI and allocate them to political parties for encashment.

Data released by the Election Commission revealed that India’s leading lottery company, along with prominent infrastructure, mining, and telecom companies, featured among the top donors. The All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) from West Bengal ranked second, receiving donations worth 16 billion rupees, followed by the opposition Congress party, which received 14 billion rupees.

India mining companies

Several mining companies, including Vedanta Limited, Rungta Sons Private Limited, Jindal Steel and Power (JSPL), Essel Mining and Industries Limited (EMIL), and Dempo, collectively purchased bonds worth 8.2 billion rupees.

Corruption accusations

A spokesperson for the Congress party accused the BJP of corruption based on the disclosed data. Jairam Ramesh highlighted instances where companies donated electoral bonds and subsequently received significant benefits from the government. He also raised questions about missing data regarding bonds sold between March 2018 and April 2019.

In a recent development, the Supreme Court directed the SBI to disclose the unique numbers of electoral bonds, thereby revealing the connection between donors and political parties.

— Political donations Future Gaming —

Source: BBC
Electoral Bonds: Lottery company among India’s top political donors

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Political donations Future Gaming and Hotel Services