Vedanta funding to Cong, BJP illegal: HC

The Delhi High Court on Friday held that funds received by the BJP and the Congress from UK-based Vedanta subsidiaries prima facie violated the Foreign Contribution Act (FCRA). It directed the central government and the Election Commission to take appropriate action within six months.

“We have no hesitation in arriving at the view that prima facie the acts of the respondents (BJP and Congress) inter-se, as highlighted in the present petition, clearly fall foul of the ban imposed under the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 1976 as the donations accepted by the political parties from Sterlite and Sesa accrue from foreign sources within the meaning of law,” the court said.

The verdict was given by the division bench of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Jayant Nath on a PIL filed by the Association of Democratic Reforms, an NGO, which had sought a direction for the court-monitored SIT or CBI inquiry. The HC rejected the argument of the Home Ministry that the companies are listed in India and over 50 per cent stakes in the parent company are held by an Indian citizen, Anil Agrawal, and hence there was no violation of FCRA.

The PIL alleged that Vedanta Resources and its subsidiary companies in India, including Sterlite Industries, Sesa Goa and Malco, have donated several crores of rupees to major political parties such as theCongress and the BJP.

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