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Saturday June 15, 2024

Modi warns of ‘black money’ in political funding after old system scrapped by court

India’s top court in February scrapped as unconstitutional a seven-year-old election funding system

By Reuters
April 16, 2024
Indias Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks after revealing the Bharatiya Janata Partys (BJP) manifesto ahead of countrys upcoming general elections, at the party headquarters in New Delhi on April 14, 2024. — AFP
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks after revealing the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) manifesto ahead of country's upcoming general elections, at the party headquarters in New Delhi on April 14, 2024. — AFP

NEW DELHI: A Supreme Court decision to scrap a controversial political funding system has pushed contributions to parties towards “black money”, or illegal funds, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in remarks broadcast on Monday.

India’s top court in February scrapped as unconstitutional a seven-year-old election funding system through instruments called “electoral bonds” that allowed individuals and companies to make unlimited and anonymous donations to political parties.

Corporate funding of political parties is a sensitive matter in India and, while there is no suggestion that the funds from the bonds scheme were improper, opposition parties allege that Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) used its powers to coerce funding.

In his most detailed defence of the scrapped system days before India begins voting in a general election, Modi denied the accusations and said companies had also donated to the opposition.He said the system was more transparent than previous ones, but added that there was room for policy improvement.

“In decision-making, we learn and improve. It is very possible to improve in this too. But today we have completely pushed the country towards black money,” Modi said in an interview to news agency ANI, in which Reuters has a minority stake.