The Election Commission (EC) has asked the Union home ministry to probe the alleged violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) by both the Congress and the BJP by receiving donations of about Rs 5 crore each from Vedanta Group subsidiaries — Sterlite Industries and Sesa Goa. Nirvachan Sadan sources told TOI that the Representation of People Act (RPA) debarred political parties from receiving contribution for a foreign source defined under clause (e) of the Section 2 of the FCRA, 1976. The FCRA, too, states that it has been formulated “to ensure that the foreign contribution and foreign hospitality is not utilized to affect or influence electoral politics, public servants, judges and other people working in the important areas of national life like journalists, printers and publishers of newspapers among others.”
“Since MHA is the nodal ministry for enforcing the FCRA, we wrote to the ministry a fortnight ago to look into the alleged donations by subsidiaries of the UK-based Vedanta group, which prima facie is a ‘foreign source’, and see if the Congress and the BJP have violated provisions of the FCRA,” said a senior EC official. It is only after the violation of the FCRA is conclusively established by the MHA that the EC plans to initiate action against the BJP and the Congress under the RPA as well, and both the parties could be served with show-cause notices.
The EC inquiry into donations received by the Congress and yhe BJP from Sterlite Industries and Sesa Goa was based on a recent report by the Association for Democratic Rights (ADR), an independent pressure group for electoral reforms, and a complaint filed by ex-revenue secretary-turned-civil rights activist E A S Sarma.