The Election Commission’s list of 1,313 buyers of electoral bonds released on March 14 is dominated by companies. But 368 buyers are individuals, who collectively bought electoral bonds worth Rs 378 crore. Lakshmi Mittal, the executive chairman of ArcelorMittal, leads the pack of individual donors

The top 10 individuals bought bonds worth Rs 172 crore – 45% of the total bought by individuals. They are businessmen spanning sectors like aviation, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and communication, though four of the 10 are fairly obscure.

1 Lakshmi Mittal

The 73-year-old steel magnate accounts for 9.2% of all electoral bonds bought by individuals, purchasing 35 bonds of Rs 1 crore each on April 8, 2019. This window of purchase was just ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

Mittal, who lives in London, sparked a controversy after he made donations to the Labour Party in 2001 and 2007. The first time, he gave the party 125,000 pounds. The second time, he donated two million pounds,

2 Laxmidas Vallabh Asmita Mercha

The Reporters Collective identified “Mercha” as Laxmidas Vallabhdas Merchant and Asmita Merchant, who are “related to each other”. Merchant is the group controller at Reliance Industries. He bought electoral bonds of Rs 25 crore in November 2023. The report said he ua also a director in at least six companies linked to Reliance’s takeover of the Network18 conglomerate.

3 KR Raja JT

Raja bought electoral bonds with Rs 25 crore on a single day. That was November 17, 2023,during a two-week window to purchase bonds during the assembly polls in Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Telangana.

But who is KR Raja JT? No one seems to know.

4 Rahul Bhatia

Rahul Bhatia is speculated to be the 68-year-old CEO of InterGlobe Aviation, which owns Indigo. As the fourth-largest individual donor, Bhatia purchased bonds worth Rs 20 crore on April 7, 2021, during a 10-day window that coincided with elections in Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, Assam and West Bengal.

InterGlobe Aviation also purchased bonds worth Rs 5 crore in October 2023. Two of its subsidiaries also bought bonds around the time of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. InterGlobe Air Transport bought bonds worth Rs 11 crore, while InterGlobe Venture Pvt Ltd made purchases of Rs 20 crore.

5 Inder Thakurdas Jaisinghani

Jaisinghani is the chairman and managing director of Polycab India, the country’s largest manufacturer of wire and cables. He bought bonds worth Rs 10 crore in April 2023 and Rs 4 crore in October 2023 – a total of Rs 14 crore.

6 Rajesh Mannalal Aggarwal

Aggarwal is the chairman of Ajanta Pharma, a director at SBFC Finance Ltd and Gabs Investment Private Ltd, and a partner at Riteaid Enterprises LLP. He bought bonds worth Rs 13 crore in January and April 2022 and in April, October and November 2023.

7 and 8 Harmesh and Rahul Joshi

Rahul Jagannath Joshi and his son Harmesh Rahul Joshi are joint directors at Seven Hills Shipping and Om Freight Forwarders Europe, operating in transport, communication and storage. The father-son duo bought bonds in tandem – Rs 10 crore each in January 2022 and Rs 10 crore each in November 2023. Both periods coincided with assembly polls.

9 and 10 Raju Kumar Sharma and Saurabh Gupta

Both bought bonds with Rs 10 crore. Sharma’s purchase was in January 2020 and Gupta’s in April 2019. We were unable to establish either of their antecedents.

This report is part of a collaborative project involving three news organisations – Newslaundry, Scroll, The News Minute – and independent journalists.

Project Electoral Bond includes Aban Usmani, Anand Mangnale, Anisha Sheth, Anjana Meenakshi, Ayush Tiwari, Azeefa Fathima, Basant Kumar, Dhanya Rajendran, Divya Aslesha, Jayashree Arunachalam, Joyal, M Rajshekhar, Maria Teresa Raju, Nandini Chandrashekar, Neel Madhav, Nikita Saxena, Parth MN, Pooja Prasanna, Prajwal Bhat, Prateek Goyal, Pratyush Deep, Ragamalika Karthikeyan, Raman Kirpal, Ravi Nair, Sachi Hegde, Shabbir Ahmed, Shivnarayan Rajpurohit, Siddharth Mishra, Supriya Sharma, Tabassum Barnagarwala and Vaishnavi Rathore.