Electoral Bonds: Why BJP MP CM Ramesh donated Rs 30 crores to Congress in 2023?

CM Ramesh’s company Rithwik Projects raised Rs 45 crore worth of bonds of which a large share went to the Indian National Congress

By Coreena Suares  Published on  22 March 2024 10:18 AM GMT
Electoral Bonds: Why BJP MP CM Ramesh donated Rs 30 crores to Congress in 2023?

Hyderabad: Sitting BJP Rajya Sabha MP CM Ramesh’s company Rithwik Projects Private Limited (RPPL) donated Rs 30 crores to the Congress party between January and April 2023, revealed the electoral bonds’ data that was recently made public by SBI after the Supreme Court’s intervention.

It is interesting to note that a sitting MP of the saffron party funded the Congress, which can now be verified since the Election Commission of India (ECI) made public on March 21 the list of electoral bond donors and the corresponding list of parties which redeemed the bonds.

With whom has Rithwik Projects partnered?

The timing of the donation is significant; the bonds were raised after the MP’s company signed an MoU with a Himachal Pradesh-based Congress-run Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), for the Sunni Dam Hydroelectric Project worth Rs 1,098 crores.

In total, Rithwik Projects raised Rs 45 crore worth of bonds of which a large share went to the Indian National Congress, Rs 10 crores went to a Karnataka-based regional party Janata Dal (Secular) and Rs 5 crores to Telugu Desam Party (TDP).

What does Rithwik Projects do?

Rithwik Projects is engaged in mining, power, irrigation and infrastructure. Over the years since its establishment in 1999, it has bagged many government contracts. The company is headed by four directors: Venkateswara Rao Damarla, Raghava Rao Damarla, Benoit Serge Maurice Laborie and V Damarla.

BJP MP CM Ramesh, who was with TDP before, came under an income tax investigation in 2019, in a case involving Rs 100 crores.

As per the case, Ramesh’s company RPPL allegedly siphoned Rs 74 crores through untraceable transactions, while bills of Rs 25 crores were found to be falsified. The I-T department raided his company in Hyderabad and his residence in Kadapa. After the General Elections in 2019, it was Ramesh and another TDP MP Sujana Chowdhary who took the leap and moved to the BJP. Both were given Rajya Sabha MP posts.

Megha donations to many parties

The Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Private Limited (MEIL), owned by India’s 54th richest man PV Krishna Reddy, donated Rs 1,232 crores in total.

The funding was split between the BJP, BRS, DMK, YSRCP, RDP, INC, Bihar Pradesh Janata Dal (United), Janata Dal (Secular) and Jana Sena Party. Among the nine parties that received funding, the BJP got a lion's share of Rs 584 crores while BRS came second with Rs 195 crores.

MEIL also donated Rs 87 crores to the Prudent Electoral Trust in FY 2023.

The business tycoon whose wealth skyrocketed to USD 4.05 billion in 2023, according to Forbes magazine, is likely to be the biggest political funder based out of Hyderabad. MEIL featured in both the lists: Electoral bonds and Electoral trusts.

Yashoda Hospitals denied donating funds

The management of the Hyderabad-based Yashoda Group, in an unofficial communication, vehemently denied purchasing electoral bonds.

A WhatsApp message from their communication team said: “Unfortunately, our hospital’s name was wrongly published in certain media. There is another Yashoda Super Speciality Hospital in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, very near to New Delhi. Many confused it with us.” However, the donation and its links to Yashoda Group may not surprise anyone knowing the proximity of Yashoda owners with former chief minister K Chandrashekar Rao.

However, the official data put out by the ECI on the bonds and purchasers revealed that Yashoda Group was BRS’ second highest donor. The group funded Rs 94 crores to the BRS, Rs 64 crores to Congress, Rs 2 crores to the BJP, Rs 1 crore to the YSRCP and Rs 1 crore to AAP.

Here’s a list of the top donors of regional parties in Telugu states: Credit -- Data compiled by Developer Madhu Krishna - works on Machine Learning (@madhukiran297)

BRS donors

1. MEIL: Rs 150 crores

2. Yashoda Super Speciality Hospitals: Rs 94 crores

3. Chennai Green Woods: Rs 50 crores

4. MEIL: Rs 45 crores

5. Dr Reddy’s: Rs 32 crores

6. Hetero Group: Rs 30 crores

7. IRB: Rs 25 crores

8. V Balaveeriah: Rs 25 crores

9. NSL SEZ (Hyderabad): Rs 24 crores

10. L7: Rs 22 crores

YSRCP donors

1. Future Gaming and Hotels: Rs 154 crores

2. MEIL: Rs 37 crores

3. Ramco Cements: Rs 24 crores

4. OSTRO: Rs 17 crores

5. OSTRO (Jaisalmer): Rs 17 crores

6. Vedanta: Rs 13 crores

7. Sneha Kinetic: Rs 10 crores

8. Ramesh Agarwal: Rs 9 crores

9. Laxmi Indu: Rs 8 crores

10. Jyostna Agarwal: Rs 7 crores

TDP donors

1. Shirdi Sai Electricals: Rs 40 crores

2. MEIL: Rs 28 crores

3. Western UP Power transmission (MEIL): Rs 20 crores

4. RK Infra: Rs 16 crores

5. NATCO Pharma: Rs 14 crores

6. Dr Reddy’s lab: Rs 10 crores

7. Bharat Biotech: Rs 10 crores

8. Sri Siddharth: Rs 9 crores

9. Prisum: Rs 9 crores

10. Aurobindo Group: Rs 7 crores

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