A little-known company based in Tamil Nadu, Future Gaming and Hotel Services Private Limited, is the largest electoral bonds donor to political parties.

It has purchased electoral bonds worth Rs 1,368 crore in total since April 2019. And in a single year, it gave six times its profit as donation to political parties.

Coimbatore-based Future Gaming is into lottery business. Its corporate records show the company’s directors are Martin Santiago and Manickka Gowder Sivaprakash. Santiago Martin holds directorship in a massive network of over 100 privately held firms with many names suggesting these are purportedly real estate firms.

Santiago’s son Charles Jose Martin reportedly joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2015.

The company has been under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). In April 2022, movable assets of the company worth Rs 409 crore were attached by ED in a money laundering investigation. Santiago Martin has been embroiled in a money laundering case since 2016, with over Rs 910 crore worth of property attached by ED.

While the company bought electoral bonds of over a thousand crore rupees, its paid-up capital is Rs 10.07 crore. 

In the financial year 2020-21, the company donated Rs 150 crore through electoral bonds while it had earned a profit before tax of only Rs 84.79 crore. In the next financial year, its donations through electoral bonds to political parties skyrocketed to Rs 544 crore but earned a profit before tax of only Rs 84.46 crore. The donations were six times the profits made that year.

In the financial year  2022-23, it donated Rs 328 crore to political parties while its profit before tax stood at a meagre Rs 82.02 crore. In 2024, it spent Rs 341 crore on electoral bonds. The corresponding figure for its profit before tax is yet not available.

Before the electoral bonds scheme was implemented, companies were allowed to donate only 7.5% of their last three years’ average profit to prevent unaccounted money from being channelled through shell companies. This cap was removed by the BJP government in 2017, allowing companies to secretively funnel monies far beyond their profits to political parties.

The highest they spent in a tranche was in January 2022 when it bought Rs 210 crore worth of electoral bonds, right before elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur were held in February 2022. In this phase of sale, total bonds amounting to Rs 1,213 crore were sold.