Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday (April 28) attacked the ruling Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) saying the list of wilful defaulters, who cheated banks in the country by not repaying huge loans, was “hidden” from parliament as the names of their friends was on the list.
“I asked a simple question in parliament – tell me the names of 50 biggest bank scammers. Finance Minister refused to reply. Now RBI has put names of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and other BJP friends in the list. This is why they hid the truth from parliament,” Gandhi tweeted with a video.
संसद में मैंने एक सीधा सा प्रश्न पूछा था- मुझे देश के 50 सबसे बड़े बैंक चोरों के नाम बताइए।
वित्तमंत्री ने जवाब देने से मना कर दिया।
अब RBI ने नीरव मोदी, मेहुल चोकसी सहित भाजपा के ‘मित्रों’ के नाम बैंक चोरों की लिस्ट में डाले हैं।
इसीलिए संसद में इस सच को छुपाया गया। pic.twitter.com/xVAkxrxyVM
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 28, 2020
Rahul Gandhi’s reaction comes in the backdrop of the Reserve Bank of India’s response to an RTI filed in connection with the loans which were written off.
Outstanding loans amounting to ₹68,607 crore of top 50 wilful bank loan defaulters in the country including firms of Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya have been technically written off till September 30, 2019, the RBI said.
Absconding dimantaire Choksi’s company Gitanjali Gems tops the list of these defaulters with a whopping amount of ₹5,492 crore, according to the list, followed by REI Agro with ₹4,314 crore and Winsome Diamonds with ₹4,076 crore.
Rotomac Global Private Limited has funded advances of ₹2,850 crore which have been technically written off and Kudos Chemie Ltd with ₹2,326 crore, Ruchi Soya Industries Limited, now owned by Ramdev’s Patanjali, with ₹2,212 crore and Zoom Developers Pvt Ltd with ₹2,012 crore being the other companies.
Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines figures in the list at number 9, with outstanding of ₹1,943 crore which have been technically written off by the banks.
Forever Precious Jewellery and Diamonds Private Limited has loans of ₹1,962 crore written off while Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited have ₹1,915 crore written off loans.
Choksi’s other firms Gili India and Nakshatra Brands also have loans of ₹1,447 and ₹1,109 crore respectively written off.
REI Agro of Jhunjhunwala brothers is already under the scanner of ED. The CBI and ED are also probing alleged fraud by the owners of Winsome Diamonds.
Vikram Kothari’s Rotomac is the fourth in the list. He and his son Rahul Kothari were arrested by the CBI for bank loan default.
In the last Parliament session, Rahul Gandhi had asked the government to provide a list of top 50 bank loans defaulters in the country, leading to sharp exchanges and uproar in the Lok Sabha.
“The information on top 50 wilful defaulters and their sum of funded amount outstanding and amount technically/prudentially written off as on September 30, 2019 reported in CRILC by banks, is provided,” the RBI said in its written response dated April 24.
In his application, RTI activist Saket Gokhale had sought the list of defaulters as on February 16, but the RBI said the requested information is not available.
This is why Finance Minister @nsitharaman tried to escape from a straight & clear question asked by Rahul Gandhi.
Sadly – the truth can never stay hidden too long.
Massive kudos to RG for calling the govt’s bluff way back in March!
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) April 28, 2020
The RBI said that according to section 8 (1)(a) of RTI Act 2005 read with para 77 of Supreme Court judgement of December 16, 2015 in Jayantilal N Mistry case, information on overseas borrowers is exempted from public disclosure.
“Data is as reported by banks and RBI will not be held responsibly or accountable for any misreporting and/or incorrect reporting by the reporting entities,” the RBI said in the written reply to the RTI query.
(With inputs from agencies)