Regional parties collected Rs 445.774 crore from unknown sources in 2019-20 which is 55.50 per cent of their total income, poll rights group Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) said in a new report. The ADR report said 95.616 per cent or Rs 426.233 crore of this came from electoral bonds, and regional parties collected Rs 4.976 crore from voluntary contributions. Some of the top regional parties to declare highest unknown income include the TRS (Rs 89.158 crore), TDP (Rs 81.694 crore), YSR-C (Rs 74.75 crore), BJD (Rs 50.586 crore) and the DMK (Rs 45.50 crore).
"An analysis of their Income Tax Returns and donations statements filed with the Election Commission of India (ECI) shows that the sources remain largely unknown. At present, political parties are not required to reveal the name of individuals or organisations giving less than Rs 20,000. As a result, a substantial amount of funds cannot be traced and are from 'unknown' sources," it said.
The contribution reports of the AAP, IUML and the LJP are available on the website, but the parties' donations data shows discrepancies as declared in their annual audit report and contribution report (donations above Rs 20,000) for FY 2019-20, the ADR said.
The amount of total contributions declared by the AAP, IUML and the LJP in their audit reports is less than the amount of total donations (above Rs 20,000 only) declared in their contribution reports by Rs 6.105 crore, Rs 31.20 lakhs and Rs 4.16 lakhs, respectively, the report said.
"During FY 2019-20, total income of regional parties from unknown sources amounted to Rs 445.774 crore and constituted 55.50 per cent of their total income as declared in their audit reports," it added.
The ADR said the total income of political parties from known donors (details of donors as available from contribution report submitted by parties to the Election Commission) is Rs 184.623 crore, which is 22.98 per cent of the total income of these parties.
The total income of political parties from other known sources (membership fees, bank interest, sale of publications, party levy etc.) is Rs 172.843 crore, or 21.52 per cent of total income, the report said.