Post claiming no Ambani, Adani companies donated via electoral bonds is misleading

By: Rahul Adhikari
March 22 2024

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Post claiming no Ambani, Adani companies donated via electoral bonds is misleading

Social media post claims the electoral bonds showed no donations from Ambani or Adani. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Misleading

ECI data reveals several donations via electoral bonds from Ambani and Adani-linked companies. It also shows TMC, BRS, and BJD received large sums.

Claim ID c17da449

What is the claim?

The Election Commission of India (ECI), on Thursday, March 21, released additional data on electoral bonds provided by the State Bank of India (SBI), including bond numbers, in compliance with the Supreme Court's directives. This updated dataset comprises alphanumeric numbers of the electoral bonds facilitating the matching of purchasers with the political parties receiving the donations. The electoral body has published two distinct lists of donors and recipients on its website.

Following the public disclosure of this data, a viral post on social media falsely claimed that the electoral bonds' list indicated no donations from Mukesh Ambani, the owner of Reliance Group, or Gautam Adani, the founder of Adani Group. Moreover, it claimed that the Trinamool Congress (TMC) was the sole state party that was a recipient of a substantial donation. The post circulated on X (formerly Twitter) on March 22 and garnered over 230,000 views and 4,600 likes. An archived version of the post is accessible here.

Screenshot of the viral post. (Source: X/Modified by Logically Facts)

However, this claim is inaccurate. The recently released data reveals that four companies associated with the Adani Group and numerous companies connected to the Reliance Group have indeed contributed through electoral bonds.

Several companies linked to Adani Group

Four companies associated with the Adani Group have collectively donated Rs 55.4 crore via electoral bonds. These companies include ABC India Ltd and three subsidiaries of the Welspun Group: Welspun Enterprises Ltd, Welspun Corp Ltd, and Welspun Living Ltd.

ABC India Ltd procured electoral bonds worth Rs 40 lakh in April 2019, with the entire amount being redeemed by the BJP. Adani Properties Private Ltd held a 1.2 percent stake in ABC India from March 2016 to September 2023, with the company divesting its shares in December 2023.

The joint venture between Welspun Group and Adani Group, Adani Welspun Exploration Ltd, was initiated in 2005. Adani Group possesses a 65 percent stake in the venture, while Welspun Enterprises Limited holds a 35 percent stake through Welspun Natural Resources Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary. Welspun Enterprises Ltd procured electoral bonds worth Rs 13 crore between April 2019 and November 2022.

The second subsidiary, Welspun Corp Ltd, purchased electoral bonds valued at Rs 27 crore between May 2019 and November 2022.

Previously known as Welspun India Ltd, the third subsidiary, Welspun Living Ltd, donated Rs 5 crore via electoral bonds in November 2023 and Rs 10 crore in November 2022. The November 2022 purchase was made under the name of Welspun India Ltd.

This data indicates that four companies associated with the Adani Group have contributed Rs 55.4 crore through electoral bonds.

Companies with links to Ambani

Qwik Supply Chain Private Limited, a Reliance-affiliated company, procured electoral bonds worth Rs 410 crore between January 2022 and November 2023, contributing Rs 375 crore to the BJP and Rs 35 crore to Shiv Sena and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP).

According to a Reuters report, the latest financial statement for the year ending March 2023, submitted to the Indian government, reveals that at least three companies—Reliance Group Support, Reliance Fire Brigade, and Reliance Hospital Management—collectively own a 50.04 percent stake.

The Indian Express reported that Qwik Supply is owned by six companies in almost equal proportions: Gujarat Petcoke and Petroproducts Supply Pvt Ltd, Reliance Hospital Management Services Pvt Ltd, Reliance Fire Brigade Service Pvt Ltd, Reliance Group Support Service Private Limited, Vibrant Advertising Pvt Limited, and Imaginationworks Production Company Pvt Ltd. According to the report, five of these six companies have a director who is a top executive at RIL (Reliance Industries Limited), while in the case of the sixth company, one director was formerly a top executive at RIL.

The board of directors of Qwik Supply Chain Private Limited, accessed on the Ministry of Corporate Affairs website, reveals that Tapas Mitra, a director at the company, also holds directorship at several other RIL companies, including Reliance Oil and Petroleum Private Limited, Reliance Photo Films Private Limited, Reliance Group Support Services Private Limited, Reliance First Private Limited, and Reliance Fire Brigade Services Private Limited. Additionally, he has been appointed as an additional director at Reliance Polyester Private Limited.

Screenshot of the list of Reliance companies where Tapas Mitra holds directorship positions. (Source: Ministry of Corporate Affairs/Modified by Logically Facts)

Newslaundry reported that Surendra Lunia, a former business associate of Ambani, donated Rs 50 crore to the BJP through several firms in May 2019. Two other firms, Honeywell Properties Private Limited and Chander Commercials Private Limited donated Rs 50 crore to the BJP in April 2021. The director of these two companies, Satyanarayanamurthy Veera Venkata Korlep, is also a board member of several Reliance firms.

According to a report by The Hindu Business Line, KR Raja Jt, an alias for K Ramachandran Raja, and Laxmidas Vallabhdas Asmita Merchant each purchased bonds worth Rs 25 crore on November 17, 2023. Public records indicate that Laxmidas Vallabhdas Merchant serves as a group controller at Reliance Industries Limited, while KR Raja is an employee of RIL.

Was TMC the sole state party receiving large sums?

The data suggests that TMC received Rs 542 crore from Santiago Martin’s Future Gaming and Hotel Services, with Haldia Energy Limited contributing Rs 281 crore. The party encashed a total of Rs 1,609.50 crore through electoral bonds.

Meanwhile, the Bharat Rashtra Samithi, formerly known as Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), encashed a total of Rs 1,214 crore, with MEIL donating Rs 195 crore, Yashodha Super Speciality Hospital contributing Rs 94 crore, and Chennai Green Woods Private Limited donating Rs 50 crore.

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) received Rs 775 crore, Yuvajana Shramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) received Rs 337 crore, and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) received Rs 656.5 crore in total.

This data clearly indicates that while TMC received the highest amount among these state parties, several other parties also received substantial donations.

The verdict

The data released by the ECI reveals that numerous political parties, including TMC, BJP, and Congress, have received significant sums through electoral bonds. Moreover, several companies associated with Ambani and Adani have purchased electoral bonds. Therefore, we have marked this claim as misleading.

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