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Electoral bonds corruption: More questions raised on BJP's donation from Bharti Group

By News Desk

March 31, 2024 09:41 AM


The Bharti Group's donation of Rs 150 crore in electoral bonds to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has raised questions concerning the timing of their contribution.
The Scroll in its report published on March 27 disclosed that the donation coincided with key legislative changes in India's telecom sector, notably the Modi government's decision to shift towards administrative allocation of satellite spectrum, bypassing competitive auctions.
The report said, the controversial move, marked by the passing of a new Telecommunications Bill in December 2023, garnered attention for its departure from the Supreme Court's earlier mandate for spectrum auctioning. Despite opposition from players like Reliance Jio advocating for auctions, the government persisted in its course, facilitating an administrative process for certain satellite-based services.
Critics have pointed to the Bharti Group's significant stake in OneWeb, a satellite company poised to benefit from these policy shifts. OneWeb, owned in part by Bharti Enterprises, secured both licensing and space authorization crucial for accessing satellite spectrum, setting it apart as a frontrunner in the emerging satellite broadband market.
Of particular concern is the timing of Bharti Airtel Limited's purchase of electoral bonds, amounting to Rs 150 crore, just days before and after critical milestones in the regulatory process. These transactions, followed closely by OneWeb's authorization, have sparked allegations of undue influence and potential conflicts of interest.
While Bharti argued against auctioning spectrum, citing it as an impediment to fair access, others, including Reliance Jio, stressed the importance of transparency and competitive neutrality in spectrum allocation.
The convergence of political contributions and regulatory decisions underscores the need for heightened scrutiny and transparency in India's telecommunications sector, particularly concerning the allocation of valuable resources like satellite spectrum.


News Desk


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