The BJP, which received a total of Rs 1,027.34 crore, highest among all the national parties, in 2017-18 fiscal, declared Rs 553.38 crore (53.87%) of the total funds as income from unknown sources, “which is 80% of the total income of the national parties from unknown sources,” the ADR, a non-profit and non-government organisation , said in its report. "This income of BJP forms more than 4 times the aggregate of income from unknown sources declared by the other 5 National Parties", it adds.
Sources of over 50% of the funds that the national political parties have received remain unknown as the existing law does not require them to reveal the names of the individuals or organisations donating less than Rs 20,000 in cash or through electoral bonds, according to a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress, the Bahujan Samajwadi Party (BSP), the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Communist Party of India together received Rs 1,293.05 crore funds from various sources in 2017-18 fiscal.
Of the total, the percentage of the funds declared by the six political parties as income from unknown sources came at 53.32%.
Funds declared as income from the unknown sources by the BJP, the Congress, the BSP, the NCP, the TMC, and the CPI together came at Rs 689.44 crore. Out of Rs 689.44 crore as income from unknown sources, the share of the income from electoral bonds was Rs 215 crore or 31%.
In 2017-18, according to the report, the Congress received Rs 199.15 crore funds and declared Rs 119.91 (60.21% of the total) as income from unknown sources.
The BSP, which pocketed Rs 51.694 crore funds, declared Rs 10.67 crore as income from unknown sources.
A total of Rs 8.15 crore fund was collected by the NCP, Rs 5.167 crore by the TMC and Rs 1.55 crore by the CPI in 2017-18.
While the NCP declared 65.89% of the total funds as income from unknown sources, the percentage of the income of the TMC from unknown sources came at 2.01 and the CPI 0.19.
The ADR's report was based on an analysis of the income tax returns and statements of donations filed by the six national parties with the Election Commission of India.
Source of the income of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) could not be analysed as the “Schedules or Annexures” which contains specific details of income from various sources were unavailable for the party, the ADR said.
“According to the donation reports containing details of donations above Rs 20,000 of 2017-18, Rs 16.80 lakhs was given to the national parties by cash. Mode of contribution of Rs 689.44 crore of unknown sources will remain unknown,” it said.
The ADR recommended that details of all donors should be made available for public scrutiny under the Right to Information Act (RTI) since “a very large percentage” of the income of the political parties cannot be traced to the original donors.
“While the national political parties were brought under the RTI Act by the Central Information Commission (CIC) ruling in June 2013, they have still not complied with the decision,” it lamented.