New Delhi: A name in the electoral bond donors’ list has brought alive the ghost of Sohrabuddin Shaikh encounter case.

One of the donors Wonder Cement is owned by Vimal Patni, an accused in the sensational encounter case that had then top BJP politicians and police officers of Gujarat and Rajasthan, including then Gujarat state home minister and current Union home minister Amit Shah, facing charges of murder and criminal conspiracy. All the accused were later acquitted at different stages of trial.

The CBI, which probed the encounter case, said in its chargesheet that Sohrabuddin Shaikh tried to extort money from Vimal Patni, a marble trader from Rajasthan. Sohrabuddin was killed in a police encounter near Gandhinagar. Later his wife disappeared, and one his aide Tulsiram Prajapati was allegedly killed by the police.

While Udaipur-based Wonder Cement, which had mopped up profits after tax worth nearly Rs 250 crore in FY23, donated Rs 20 crore through electoral bonds, four members of the Patni family together gave Rs 8 crore to parties. 

The four are Ashok Patni, Chairman; Suresh Patni, Managing Director; Vivek Patni, Director; and Vineet Patni, President. According to the company website, "Vivek Patni inherits a glorious business legacy from his renowned family, whose members constitute the distinguished house of Patnis. He is the eldest son of Mr. Vimal Patni and his ambitions, his goals and his vision for the company are no less illustrious than his father's."

There are three other donors who share the Patni family name but The Collective could not independently verify if they are indeed related to the same Patni’s.

Along with companies, the fine print of the now-defunct electoral fund-raising scheme brought in by the Modi government allowed individuals, groups of individuals, NGOs, religious and other trusts, Hindu Undivided Family units and all other entities recognised by law to donate money.