29 April 2020
New Delhi: Terming attempts by the Opposition of raising the issue of banks writing off the debt of wilful defaulters as "misleading" Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the Modi government was in fact cleaning up the financial system and going after wilful defaulters while remaining committed to ending corruption and cronyism.
"Congress and Rahul Gandhi should introspect why they fail to play a constructive role in cleaning up the system. Neither while in power, nor while in the opposition has the Congress shown any commitment or inclination to stop corruption & cronyism," Sitharaman tweeted late on Tuesday.
In a series of tweets on the issue, the Finance Minister also accused the Congress of misleading people in a brazen manner which is typical of the party while resorting to sensationalising facts by taking them out of context.
"Today's attempt of @INCIndia leaders is to mislead on wilful defaulters, bad loans & write-offs. Between 2009-10 & 2013-14, Scheduled Commercial Banks had written off Rs 1,45,226.00 crores. Wished Shri.@RahulGandhi consulted Dr. Manmohan Singh on what this writing-off was about," the Finance Minister said.
Giving details of how banks treat defaults, Sitharaman said that provisions are made for NPAs as per the four-year provisioning cycle laid down by the RBI. Upon full provisioning being done banks write-off the fully provided NPA but continue to pursue recovery against the borrower. "No loan is waived off," she tweeted.
"Those defaulters who do not repay despite having capacity to pay, divert or siphon-off funds, or dispose of secured assets without bank's permission are categorised as wilful defaulters. They are those well connected promoters who benefitted from UPA's ‘Phone banking'," her tweet added.
She also cited what earlier RBI governor had said Raghuram Rajan: "A large number of bad loans originated in the period 2006-2008...Too many loans were made to well-connected promoters who have a history of defaulting on their loans...Public sector bankers continued financing promoters even while private sector banks were getting out. RBI could have raised more flags about the quality of lending..."
From 2015, PSBs were asked by GoI to check all NPAs above Rs 50 crore for wilful default.
Citing the Nirav Modi case, Sitharaman tweeted that immovable and movable properties worth more than Rs 2,387 crore attached/seized. (Attachment Rs 1,898 crore and Seizure Rs 489.75 crore). "This includes foreign attachments of Rs 961.47 crore. Auction of luxury items for Rs 53.45 crore. He is in prison in the UK."
In the case of Mehul Choksi, Attachments of Rs 1,936.95 crore including foreign attachment of Rs 67.9 crore has been done besides Seizure of Rs 597.75 crore. "Red Notice issued. Extradition Request sent to Antigua. Hearing for declaration of Mehul Choksi as Fugitive Offender is in progress," the tweet said.
"Vijay Mallya Case : Total value at the time of attachment was Rs 8,040 crore and of seizure was Rs 1,693 crore. Value of shares at the time of seizure was Rs 1693 crore. Declared fugitive offender. On extradition request by GoI, UK High Court, has also ruled for extradition," the Minister cited in her tweet.
Sithraman said that it is the Narendra Modi government which is pursuing these wilful defaulters with 9,967 recovery suits, 3,515 FIRs, invoking Fugitive Amendment Act in cases are on now. Total value of attachment & seizures in the cases of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya is Rs 18,332.7 crore.
She said that bank-wise details of aggregate funded amount outstanding & amount technically/ prudentially written off, pertaining to top fifty wilful defaulters was provided as an annex to Lok Sabha against starred question of RahulGandhi on 16.3.2020.
Earlier, on 18.11.2019, in the Lok Sabha for an unstarred Question no:52, a list of "Borrowers flagged as wilful defaulter by Public Sector Banks under CRILIC reporting as on 30.09.2019 (For borrowers with exposure of Rs. 5 crore and above, Global operations) was provided, she tweeted.