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Kotak family-owned Infina Finance gives Rs 60 cr to BJP via electoral bonds

Little-known NBFC Infina Finance, owned by the Kotak family, has donated electoral bonds worth Rs 60 crore to the BJP. According to the data given by the State Bank of India (SBI) to the Election Commission, Mumbai-based Infina Finance purchased these bonds in the denomination of Rs 1 crore in 2019, 2020 and 2021. All of these bonds, the data showed, were given to the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP).

Infina Finance Private Ltd, according to its website, was incorporated in 2008 and is in the business of capital market financing and proprietary trading and investments.

It is jointly owned by Kotak Mahindra Bank through its subsidiary and Kotak family, as per the website. Infina, a non-deposit accepting, systemically important non-banking financial company registered with the RBI, had reported a profit of Rs 105.55 crore in 2022-23. The firm had a total income of Rs 227.84 crore during the fiscal.

A query sent to the Kotak group did not elicit any response.

Separately, three financial services companies owned by the Piramal group — Piramal Enterprise, Piramal Capital & Housing Finance and PHL Finvest — have donated Rs 85 crore to the BJP.

Piramal Capital & Housing Finance had purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 10 crore, while PHL Finvest and Piramal Enterprises had donated Rs 40 crore and 35 crore, respectively, through bonds. Renuka Investment & Finance gave Rs 5 crore as a donation to the BJP. As per the data, Edelweiss Housing Finance Ltd donated Rs 1 crore to the Congress in May 2019 through electoral bonds. The Electoral Bond scheme was announced by the then Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his Budget speech of 2017-18, pitching it as an alternative to cash donations made to political parties as part of efforts to bring transparency to political funding. Under the scheme, the name of the donor is known only to banks. Electoral bonds are encashed by an eligible political party only through a bank account with the authorised bank. However, the Supreme Court in February directed SBI, which was the designated bank for issuing these bonds, to disclose details of each electoral bond encashed by political parties. While directing SBI, the Supreme Court also annulled the electoral bonds scheme for political funding, saying it violates the Constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression and the right to information.

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Source: Economic Times