Goa’s mining giants bought electoral bonds from all political parties

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) received the largest donations.

Credit : Indie Journal


The additional data pertaining to the purchase and encashment of Electoral Bonds has revealed that the minings giants of Goa - Salgaocar and Dempo - donated to almost all the political parties in the state, right before the assembly election in 2022. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state, incumbent at the time, received the largest number of donations between 2019 and 2023 - amounting to Rs 21.3 crore.

Mining, which was seen as the largest contributor to the Goa Government’s income, has faced multiple shutdowns in the last 15 years, owing to their reckless operation and multitude of environmental violations. It has, thus, been a point of interest around every election in the state since. The electoral bonds data shows that two of Goa’s mining giants, Dempo Group and VM Salgaocar Group, have donated to almost all the major political parties that contested the 2022 state assembly election - BJP, Congress, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP), Goa Forward Party and All India Trinamool Congress (AITC). MGP, which contested elections in coalition with the AITC, later split and entered the coalition government with BJP and GFP.



While the Dempo Group, through its various companies, purchased bonds worth Rs 70 lakh for the BJP, it donated Rs 50 lakh to Congress, Rs 20 lakh to MGP, Rs 15 lakh to AAP and Rs 20 lakh to Goa Forward Party. The donations were made by Shrinivas V Dempo, Dempo IND Pvt Ltd and Navhind Papers and Pub, Vassudeva Dempo Family Pvt Trust, Dempo Industries Pvt Ltd and Goa Carbon Limited. All of these donations were made in the year 2022. The Dempo Group also owns Navhind Times, one of the largest circulated English dailies in Goa. In May 2022, Dempo Group was raided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the Panama Papers leak case.

Interestingly, BJP has fielded Pallavi Dempo, Executive Director of Dempo Industries, as its candidate for Lok Sabha Elections 2024 from the South Goa constituency. Other than being BJP’s first woman candidate in Goa poll history, she is also the spouse of Shrinivas Dempo, Chairman of Dempo Group of Companies.

Another mining giant that donated large sums to the political party during the same period was the VM Salgaocar Group. Through its companies VM Salgaocar Corporation Pvt Ltd and VM Salgaocar and Brother Pvt Ltd, the group donated Rs 3.10 crore to BJP, Rs 1.1 crore to Congress, Rs 35 lakh to MGP, Rs 30 lakh to AAP and Rs 15 lakh to AITC.

In 2021, all three brothers in the Salgaocar family, Dattaraj Salgaocar, Shivanand Salgaocar and late Anil Salgaocar were revealed to have had offshore accounts in the leaked Pandora Papers. The Salgaocars are also connected to the Ambani family. Mukesh and Anil Ambani’s sister Deepti is married to Dattaraj Salgaocar.

While these two groups have made significant donations, the largest donors of BJP in Goa have proven to be the Fomento Resources, which owns and operates several mines in Goa. Fomento Resources, run by Ambar Timblo, has purchased electoral bonds through its subsidiaries, exclusively to the BJP.



Fomento’s Infrastructure Logistics Pvt Ltd has donated Rs 4 crore to BJP in January 2022 while Hardesh Ores Pvt Ltd has purchased bonds worth Rs 9 crore in April and July 2021 as well as January 2022, all encashed by BJP. Fomento donated a total of Rs 13 crore to the BJP in 2021 and 2022.

Apart from these, Chowgule And Company Pvt Ltd donated Rs 50 lakh to the BJP in April 2022. Another interesting donor here was Jai Ganesh Ispat and Ferro Alloys Pvt Ltd, authorised distributor of JSW steel, that purchased bonds worth Rs 4 crore to the BJP on November 20, 2023. In April 2023, JSW Steel had won an iron ore block in ongoing auctions in Goa, a first for the company.

At the iron ore block auction in Goa held in December 2022, three of the four blocks were allotted to the purchasers of electoral bonds.

Meanwhile, Vedanta Ltd, which was granted an iron ore block in Bicholim in the same auction, has emerged as one of the top donors of BJP through electoral bonds. Vedanta purchased bonds worth Rs 266 crore for BJP between 2019 and 2023. In 2023, the company faced issues elating to environmental clearances for the Bicholim mine block. However, as of January 2024, the clearances have been granted to the company.

As for the funds received by the political parties from Goa’s mining companies, the BJP received a whopping Rs 21.3 crores, Congress encashed Rs 1.60 crores, MGP Rs 55 lakhs, AAP Rs 45 lakh, AITC Rs 30 lakh and the Goa Forward Party received Rs 35 lakhs.

Meanwhile, the ED has started an inquiry in Goa with regard to the funds received by AAP in the 2022 state assembly elections. The ED, during a submission in the Delhi Court on Friday, asserted that money obtained as kickbacks by the AAP was utilised during the poll campaign.