JD(S)’s Electoral Bonds: MEIL, Infosys, among top donors

More than half of funding through bonds came from Hyderabad-based MEIL, while the second largest donor is Bengaluru-based realtor Embassy Group.
HD Kumaraswamy
HD Kumaraswamy

IT giant Infosys Technologies Limited and Bengaluru-based realtor Embassy Group are among the firms that donated to the Janata Dal (Secular), which received Rs 89.75 crore through electoral bonds since the scheme’s inception in March 2018 and up to September 30, 2023. The latest data released by the Election Commission of India on Sunday, shows statements by political parties submitted to the ECI in response to the Supreme Court order dated November 2, 2023. 

While many parties including the BJP and Congress have only revealed the amounts they received along with the dates on which the money was deposited into their accounts, the JDS has disclosed the names of donors. These include Megha Engineering and Constructions Limited, Infosys, JSW, Aditya Birla, Embassy Group, Shahi Exports and others.

The JD(S) received Rs 13.25 crore between March 20 and April 17, 2018, during the run up to the state elections on May 12. The party went on to win 37 seats and formed the government in alliance with the Congress. 

During HD Kumaraswamy’s tenure as Karnataka Chief Minister (May 23, 2018 to July 23, 2019), his party received Rs 25 crore through bonds from various companies such as MEIL, Shahi Exports, Biocon, JSW Steel, Amar Raj Group, Aditya Birla Group and Shankaranarayana Constructions. In 2023, the party received a total of Rs 41 crore, with Biocon donating Rs 1 crore while the rest came from MEIL.

The single-largest donor to the party is Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Constructions Limited — which is also the second-largest buyer of electoral bonds in the country. MEIL donated Rs 50 crore, more than half the total funds that the JD(S) got from electoral bonds. 

Read: Top buyers of electoral bonds are ‘Lottery King’ and Megha Engineering

The first installment that the JDS received from the Hyderabad-headquartered company was a bond of Rs 10 crore on March 19, 2019, during Kumaraswamy’s tenure as chief minister. However, the bulk of the bonds — four bonds of Rs 10 crore denomination — from MEIL were encased only in 2023 on April 18. 

Embassy Group is the second largest donor to the JDS. Based in Bengaluru, the firm has multiple high value projects in large cities in many states. The company donated bonds worth Rs 22 crore, which were encashed between March and April 2018. 

JSW Steel Ltd gave the party Rs 5 crore through three bonds that were encashed in April 2019. 

Biocon donated slightly over Rs 2 crore between May 2018 and April 2023. However, a day after the data was released, Biocon executive chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw posted on X the company had not made any political donations either to the JD(S) or any other political party. “At a personal level I purchased electoral bonds which I donated to JDS & several parties. My donations were nominal on the principle of funding election campaigns with white money,” she said in her post.

Amar Raj Group gave Rs 2 crore which the JDS received on April 15, 2019. 

Other funds that the JDS received include Rs 1 crore from Infosys Technologies Ltd in March 2018, Rs 1.5 crore from garment exporter Shahi Exports in January 2019, Rs 5 crore from Bengaluru-based Shankaranarayana Constructions in March 2019, Rs 50 lakh from Aditya Birla Group in April 2019, and Rs 25 lakh from hospital-chain Health Care Global Enterprises Limited.

This report is part of a collaborative project involving three news organisations – Newslaundry, Scroll, The News Minute – and independent journalists.

Project Electoral Bond includes Aban Usmani, Anand Mangnale, Anisha Sheth, Anjana Meenakshi, Ayush Tiwari, Azeefa Fathima, Basant Kumar, Dhanya Rajendran, Jayashree Arunachalam, Joyal, M Rajshekhar, Maria Teresa Raju, Nandini Chandrashekar, Neel Madhav, Nikita Saxena, Parth MN, Pooja Prasanna, Prajwal Bhat, Prateek Goyal, Pratyush Deep, Ragamalika Karthikeyan, Raman Kirpal, Ravi Nair, Sachi Hegde, Shabbir Ahmed, Shivnarayan Rajpurohit, Siddharth Mishra, Supriya Sharma, Tabassum Barnagarwala and Vaishnavi Rathore.

Related Stories

No stories found.
The News Minute