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Leading up to the Tripura, Meghalaya, and Nagaland Assembly elections this month, the State Bank of India sold electoral bonds worth Rs 308.76 crore in January. Data obtained by The Indian Express under the Right to Information (RTI) Act revealed that about 30 per cent of sales were made at the Kolkata branch, and over 60 per cent of the total value was redeemed at the New Delhi branch.

In response to an RTI query on Wednesday, SBI stated that the sale of electoral bonds took place at eight branches out of the 29 authorized under the scheme, during the 25th tranche from January 19-28 this year.

A total of 437 bonds were sold, including 300 of Rs 1 crore each, which is the highest available denomination. The Kolkata branch had the highest sales, amounting to Rs 98.50 crore, while the New Delhi branch, which has seen the most sales since the start of the scheme in 2018, came in second with Rs 60.20 crore.

The total sale amount this time was less than half the total value sold during the Gujarat Assembly election campaign in November 2022 (Rs 676.2 crore), according to the reply.

When it came to encashing, 429 bonds were redeemed at six branches, and all but Rs 26,000 of the total value was encashed. The New Delhi branch remained the top choice, with Rs 193.71 crore encashed at the SBI branch on Parliament Street. The Kolkata branch saw Rs 80.50 crore being encashed in the 25th tranche.

According to the reply, out of the total electoral bonds sold so far, worth Rs 12,008.59 crore, Mumbai accounted for Rs 3,225.77 crore, while New Delhi saw the most encashed (Rs 7,797.04 crore out of Rs 11,984.91 crore).

Damini Nath is an Assistant Editor with the national bureau of The Ind…

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