In the run-up to the Assembly elections in five states in November, the State Bank of India sold a total of Rs 1,148.38 crore in electoral bonds in October, with the highest amount of sales at its Hyderabad branch (33 per cent), according to a Right to Information reply Tuesday.
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The 28th tranche of electoral bonds went on sale from October 4 to 14, while the ECI announced the poll schedule for the five Assembly elections on October 9. As per SBI data, its Hyderabad branch sold Rs 377.63 crore of EBs, which was about 33 per cent of the total, but when it came time for encashing, political parties redeemed only Rs 83.63 crore (7 per cent) in the Telangana capital. In its reply to the RTI query by transparency campaigner Commodore Lokesh K Batra (retired), SBI said 25 political parties had opened accounts for redeeming EBs.
For sales, the top branches after Hyderabad were Kolkata (Rs 255.28 crore), Mumbai (Rs 177.90 crore), New Delhi (Rs 130.68 crore) and Chennai (Rs 95.50 crore). The SBI’s New Delhi branch, where national parties are expected to have their accounts, saw the overwhelming majority of all EBs encashed (Rs 800 crore or 70 per cent). The Kolkata (Rs 171.28 crore), Hyderabad, Mumbai (Rs 39 crore) and Patna (25 crore) branches were among the top five for encashing.
Though EBs are available in denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 1 crore each, the largest denomination remains the most popular. In the latest tranche, SBI sold 2,012 individual EBs, of which more than half (1,095) were of Rs 1 crore denomination.