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The Wire withdraws article after claims of discrepancy in electoral bonds list by The Quint’s Poonam Agarwal fall flat: Read about lies and embarrassment

Hours after The Wire withdrew its story, Poonam took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to admit that she had indeed bought electoral bonds in 2020, and blamed COVID-19 after being exposed for her lies.

Far-left propaganda portal The Wire on Monday had another moment of embarrassment as it pulled down an article that raised aspersions on the integrity of the electoral bonds list released by the State Bank of India citing claims made by The Quint ‘journalist’ Poonam Agarwal.

“This story has been removed because the claims made by the reporter have not been substantiated,” The Wire article titled ‘Journalist Who Purchased Electoral Bonds Points To Possible Discrepancy In Released List” read, harking back to the time when the far-left propaganda portal had to suffer the ignominy of withdrawing stories on Tek Fog and Meta for peddling lies.

The article included Agarwal’s tweet posted on March 17, 2024, wherein she claimed that the electoral bonds list released by the SBI had named her as a purchaser of the bond on 20 October 2020 while she had purchased the bonds in April 2018. Casting aspersions on the list, The Quint ‘journalist’ had tweeted wondering if it was an error, inaccuracy or if her namesake had purchased the bond, which she said would be a big coincidence.

Several left-leaning organisations, including The Wire, lapped up the claims made by Poonam to throw shades on the electoral bonds list released by the SBI and insinuate that the bank might have altered the details. However, soon after Poonam claimed that the list falsely showed her name as a purchaser of the electoral bonds in 2020 and the left-leaning media amplified those claims, a YouTube video by her for The Quint where she explains her purchase of the electoral bonds in 2020 surfaced online, with many X users questioning her claims and insinuations of SBI list being tampered.

Here’s the video:

Hours after The Wire withdrew its story, Poonam took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to admit that she had indeed bought electoral bonds in 2020, and blamed the fiasco on her poor memory citing COVID-19. After being caught lying about the purchase of the electoral bonds, Ms Agarwal urged to not question the SBI data.

“Clarification: I have come across a video that I recorded at The Quint in which I am showing an #ElectoralBond dated 20/10/2020/ I don’t remember purchasing a bond in 2020 but only in 2018. Unique number will clear my doubts. Till then let’s not question SBI data,” she tweeted.

Left-leaning ideologues had hailed Poonam Agarwal for her ‘revolutionary journalism’

It is noteworthy to mention that several notable left-leaning ideologues had hailed Poonam Agarwal as a revolutionary over her “investigative journalism” on electoral bonds. Sushant Singh acclaimed her as a “bonafide star” whose story forced the centre to acknowledge that every bond could be tracked using a secret serial number that was only visible in UV light.

The Wire ‘journalist’ Arfa Khanum Sherwani urged her followers to subscribe to Poonam Agarwal’s YouTube channel and watch her videos on electoral bonds.

Ravish Kumar, among the foremost leftist ideologues and known lately for being a YouTuber, also went into raptures over Poonam Agarwal for her story on electoral bonds having hidden alpha-numeric codes that the government could use to draw a link between donors and political parties.

SBI’s response in SC busts far-fetched insinuations by The Quint’s Poonam Agarwal on electoral bonds

As Poonam Agarwal’s claims of discrepancy in the electoral bonds list released by SBI fall flat, it is worth noting that the submissions made by the State Bank of India in the Supreme Court earlier today busted the other set of insinuations made by her about the hidden alpha-numeric code on electoral bonds. Poonam Agarwal, who was booked for abetment of suicide in the Army Jawan’s suicide case in 2017, had alleged that the electoral bonds were not completely anonymous and that the secret codes on them could be used by the Centre to link donors with political parties. 

Senior advocate Harish Salve, representing SBI, revealed that the bond numbers issued by the banks are only available on the bond and not anywhere else. The bank also added that the hidden alphanumeric code was a security feature and not for auditing purposes.

In essence, the SBI conveyed two things. First, just because the bond contains hidden numbers, it doesn’t mean they can be used to link donors with political parties. Second, they don’t have a record of the alpha-numeric codes on the bonds, shattering the web of insinuations that The Quint ‘journalist’ Poonam Agarwal had weaved in her report that was widely hailed in the leftist circles as “pathbreaking journalism”.

The Quint journalist had tried projecting her assumptions as facts by claiming that the secret codes on the electoral bonds could be used to draw a link between donors and the political parties, thereby compromising the promised anonymity to the donors, while also being a tool of surveillance for the Centre to know who was donating to which political party.

Another ridiculous argument that Agarwal furthered is that the watermark is enough and the alpha-numeric hidden code was not needed for security purposes. This doesn’t hold water because that would mean even currency notes don’t need serial numbers printed on them for security as they, too, have watermarks. 

Since SBI has confirmed it hasn’t documented the figures, if the Supreme Court presses, SBI might scan the bonds and release the numbers, potentially connecting them to the recipient political parties. However, linking them to the donors seems a remote possibility. But the revelation has put paid to the far-fetched assumptions and leaps of faith made by Poonam Agarwal.

Some political parties like the DMK and AIDMK were able to publish the donor names presumably because the companies may have given them the bonds directly. But for others, like the TMC and JDU, which said many donated them anonymously with some bonds being dropped in drop boxes, it is impossible to furnish the data if the parties didn’t keep the record.

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Amit Kelkar
Amit Kelkar
a Pune based IT professional with keen interest in politics

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