Friday, August 14, 2020
Home Fact-Check No, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not 'expose' his PAN after donating to BJP

No, Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not ‘expose’ his PAN after donating to BJP

Even if PM Modi had revealed his PAN details, it would not be an issue as the number is already in public domain.

On October 23, Bharatiya Janata Party launched an initiative to seek micro donations from party workers and well-wishers through the NaMo app. Under this provision, any amount between ₹5 and ₹1000 can be donated to the party. To promote the initiative, senior leaders of the party including Amit Shah, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made donations using this facility, and tweeted the receipt which is generated after the payment is made.

Seeing this tweet, French Security Researcher Elliot Alderson, who takes a keen interest in privacy and data security matters in India, commented that Modi forgot to blur the PAN which was visible on the receipt. Please note that Elliot Alderson is actually a Twitter alias used by Robert Baptiste, who frequently exposes flaws in the Aadhaar system.

As Robert is quite informed about the Indian financial system, it was a very strange comment from him. Because, it is not Narendra Modi’s PAN that is printed on the receipt, but it is the PAN of the BJP. The number AAABB0157F is in public domain, including documents available on Election Commission website. The same number was seen on receipts posted by numerous people who made the donation using the newly launched feature on the NaMo app.

Moreover, even if Narendra Modi had ‘revealed’ his PAN by ‘mistake’, it would not be any issue, as his Permanent Account Number is also in public domain. In India, everyone who contests elections conducted by Election Commission of India, has to mention their PAN on their affidavits which is submitted to EC along with nomination papers.

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2014 Affidavit of Modi submitted to EC, showing his PAN

Not just PAN, candidates have to mention several financial details on the affidavit, like bank account numbers, bank and branch detail, and balance in those accounts on a particular date. The affidavits are available on Election Commission website, and also on website Myneta, which curates the affidavits and other information about candidates. This also may come as a big surprise for Robert.

Immediately Robert posted the tweet, people started replying to him that it is the party PAN and not Modi’s PAN, which he has chosen to ignore till now.

Screenshot of a few replies

People also informed him that in PAN of individual persons, the fourth character is always ‘P’, while the PAN on the receipt is ‘B’, which stands for Body of Individuals, and the fifth character is the first character of surname of the person, or first character of name of the non-person entity. And the fifth character in this case is B, if it was Modi’s PAN, it should be M.

It is rather amusing that Robert is unaware about such simple and widely known facts about PAN (not ‘PAN number’ as he wrote, which would expand to Permanent Account Number number), and his tweet got so many retweets and likes.

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Raju Das
Corporate Dropout, Freelance Translator

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