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"Electoral bonds is the biggest extortion scheme of world, PM Modi is its mastermind": Rahul Gandhi

Wayanad (Kerala): Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday called the Electoral bonds the "biggest extortion scheme" of the world, adding that PM Modi is the mastermind behind it.

The remarks of Rahul Gandhi came after Prime Minister Modi in an interview to ANI accused the opposition parties of "spreading lies" over the electoral bonds scheme, which has been struck down by the Supreme Court, and said "everyone will regret it when there is an honest reflection".

Speaking to reporters, Rahul Gandhi said, "The important thing in electoral bond is- names and dates. When you carefully see the names and dates you will know that when they (donors) gave the electoral bond, right after that contract was given to them or CBI inquiry was withdrawn against them. Prime Minister is caught here that's why he is giving interview to ANI.This is the biggest extortion scheme of the world and PM Modi is the mastermind of it."

Rahul Gandhi further alleged that big contracts were given to those donors right after the BJP received the money in form electoral bonds.

"Ask the PM to explain that one day CBI inquiry starts and immediately after that they get the money and immediately after that CBI inquiry is scrapped. Big contracts, infrastructure contracts- the company gives money and immediately after that they are given the contract. The truth is it is extortion and PM Modi has masterminded it," he said.

In an interview with ANI, PM Modi said the electoral bonds scheme was aimed at curbing black money in elections and said the opposition wants to run away after making allegations.

He said of the 16 companies who gave donations after action by probe agencies, only 37 per cent of the amount went to the BJP and 63 per cent to opposition parties opposed to the BJP.

The Prime Minister said the country has been pushed towards "black money" in elections and everyone will regret it.In his first detailed reaction on electoral bonds scheme, PM Modi, who has been on a hectic campaign for the Lok Sabha polls, said the scheme should also be viewed a success story as it has allowed the trail to show who had made contributions to political parties through the scheme.

He also said there is a lot scope of improvement in the scheme.

"There has been a discussion in our country for a long time that (through) black money a dangerous game is there in elections. The play of black money in the country's elections ends, this discussion has been going on for a long time. Money is spent in elections; no one can deny this. My party also spends, all parties, candidates spend and money has to be taken from people. I wanted that we try something, how can our elections be free from this black money, how can there be transparency? There was a pure thought in my mind. We were looking for a way. We found a small way, we never claimed that this was the absolute way," he said.

He said there was debate in Parliament on the electoral bonds scheme when the relevant bill was passed and some of those who are now commenting on it had supported it.

The Supreme Court in February this year struck down the electoral bonds scheme and said it was unconstitutional.
INDIA Bloc parties have been targeting the BJP-led government over the electoral bonds scheme in their election campaign.

In its decision, the Supreme Court asked the SBI to stop issuing electoral bonds.In compliance with a directive from the Supreme Court, the Election Commission of India (ECI) uploaded data on electoral bonds on its official website. The data was provided by the State Bank of India (SBI) on the directions of the apex court. 

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