Two non-profit groups have moved the Supreme Court seeking investigation into alleged quid pro quo arrangements between corporations, political parties and government agencies based on electoral bonds data, Bar and Bench reported on Wednesday.

In its judgement on February 15, the Supreme Court while striking down the scheme had said that it violated the right to information, freedom of speech and could lead to quid pro quo arrangements between donors and political parties.

The petitioners, Common Cause and the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, have filed a joint petition stating that the investigation will expose alleged conspiracies and scams carried out through the electoral bonds scheme.

The petition has asked that a Special Investigation Team supervised by a retired Supreme Court judge should conduct the probe into the matter.

Electoral bonds were monetary instruments that citizens or corporate groups could buy from the State Bank of India and give to a political party, which would then redeem them. The scheme was introduced by the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Centre in January 2018.

The entire process was anonymous since buyers were not required to declare their purchase of these interest-free bonds and political parties did not need to show the source of the money.

The latest petition in the court contended that the analysis of the data has shown that bulk of the bonds have been given as quid pro quo arrangements by corporations to political parties.

The petitioners have said that these arrangements are in clear violation of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, specifically the offences pertaining to commercial organisations bribing a public servant and influencing them by illegal means, reported The Indian Express.

Electoral bond donors have done so to get contracts, licences, leases, clearances or approvals worth thousands and sometimes lakhs of crores and other benefits from the governments, which were in turn controlled by the political parties that received those bonds, the plea contended.

The petition says that the donations were aimed at getting favourable policy changes and also “securing” protection to avoid or stall proceedings initiated by investigative agencies like the Enforcement Directorate, the Central Bureau of Investigations or the Income Tax Department or to get relaxation from regulators like the Drug Controller.

The petition claims that the analysis of the data showed that political donations also influenced contracts and regulatory inaction by drug monitoring agencies, which led to the sale of substandard drugs in the market.

The plea also alleged that the donations through electoral bonds have also violated provisions of the Companies Act which regulates contributions to political parties. It contended that companies that were less than three years old have also made donations, which is not allowed under law.

The plea has named companies like Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited, Future Gaming and Hotel Services PR, Grasim Industries, Vedanta, IFB Agro Limited and Bharti Airtel Limited, among others as part of the quid pro quo arrangement, reported The Indian Express.

Analysis of electoral bond data revealed that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in the Centre received bulk of the donations made through the anonymous scheme.

Read more analysis on this topic by Project Electoral Bond, a collaborative project involving Scroll, The News Minute, Newslaundry and freelance journalists.