DMK and Trinamool are among the top recipients of Future Gaming’s electoral bonds

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Coimbatore-based lottery company, Future Gaming and Hotel Services Pvt Ltd has emerged as among the major donors to All India Trinamool Congress Party (AITMC) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) contributing around Rs.500 crore each to these parties, showed the data released by Election Commission of India (ECI) on March 21. AITMC received around Rs.540 crore from Santiago Martin’s company while DMK received around Rs.500 crore. Other parties which received electoral bond funds from Future Gaming include YSR Congress (around Rs.150 crore), Bhartiya Janata Party (around Rs.100 crore), Indian National Congress (around Rs.50 crore), Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (around Rs.11 crore) and Sikkim Democratic Front etc (around Rs.5 crore), shows the data released by ECI.

Future Gaming contributed a total of Rs.1,368 crore through electoral bonds between 2019 and 2023. Founded in December 1991, Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited was registered in Coimbatore by Santiago Martin. The company was in the news on multiple occasions for legal violations and investigations by different agencies for financial irregularities, reported Money Control.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has earlier filed charges against lottery company Future Gaming and its various sub-distributors for alleged money laundering activities. According to a report by India Today on April 2, 2022, assets worth Rs.409.92 crore have been attached in connection with the case. The ED alleges that Future Gaming, along with its sub-distributors and area-distributors, engaged in criminal conspiracy by unlawfully retaining unsold lottery tickets and claiming top prizes on such tickets during the pre-GST period until 2017.

Operating gaming facilities including casinos, electronic gaming centers, and other gaming establishments, Future Gaming and Hotel Services offer a variety of games such as slot machines, card games, and other electronic gaming options, along with real estate development and hospitality.

This data is now public because of a landmark ruling on February 15 by a five-judge Constitution bench, which declared the Centre’s electoral bonds scheme unconstitutional. The ruling ordered the disclosure of donors, the amount donated, and the recipients of such donations. In compliance with the Supreme Court’s directions, the Election Commission of India (ECI) uploaded data on Electoral Bonds provided by the State Bank of India (SBI) on March 21.

The uploaded documents by ECI link donors to unique alphanumeric bond numbers and provide information about the political parties that have encashed the bonds. Earlier, on March 21, the chairperson of SBI filed a compliance affidavit in the Supreme Court, stating that the bank had disclosed all details related to electoral bonds to the ECI.

In response to the Supreme Court’s directives, SBI was instructed on March 18 to cease selective disclosure and make complete details related to the electoral bonds scheme available by March 21. This disclosure included unique bond numbers to match buyers with the recipient political parties.