BY : SHREEYA SHUKLA
Company Gitanjali Gems owned by Mehul Choksi topped the list as wilful defaulters released by the RBI, with Rs 5,492 crore. Choksi’s other firms like Gili India and Nakshatra Brands also have the loans of Rs 1,447 and Rs 1,109 crore respectively written off.
The Jhunjhunwala brothers, as well as the Vijay Mallya are among the prominent person who are linked to companies named by the Reserve Bank of India in a list of top 50 wilful defaulters accused of scamming the country’s banks.
In Right to Information response to the activist Saket Gokhale released on Tuesday, RBI said that the outstanding loans amounting to Rs 68,607 crore taken out by 50 firms have been written off till September 30, 2019.
Choksi’s company Gitanjali Gems is followed by the REI Agro with ₹4,314 crore as well as Winsome Diamonds with ₹4,076 crore.
Further Rotomac Global Private Limited has funded advances of ₹2,850 crore which have been written off and Kudos Chemie Ltd with ₹2,326 crore, Ruchi Soya Industries Limited, now owned by Patanjali, with ₹2,212 crore and the Zoom Developers Pvt Ltd with ₹2,012 crore being the other companies.
REI Agro of Jhunjhunwala brothers has already been under the scanner of ED. The CBI and ED are also probing alleged fraud by 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 the bank loan default.
Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines is at number 9, with outstanding amount of ₹1,943 crore which have been written off by banks.
Inlast Parliament session, Rahul Gandhi asked the government to provide a list of top 50 bank loans defaulters in country, leading to sharp exchanges and uproar in Lok Sabha. “The information on top 50 wilful defaulters and their sum of funded amount outstanding and amount written off as on September 30, 2019 reported in CRILC by banks, is provided,” said the RBI on 24 th April. RTI activist Saket Gokhale had sought list of defaulters as on February 16, but the RBI said the requested information is not available.
The RBI said that as per 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 for any misreporting and by reporting entities,” the RBI said in the written reply to RTI query.
Following the disclosure, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi launched a scathing attack on the BJP- led Central government.
“I asked the 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 list. This is why they hide truth from parliament,” he said in a tweet on Tuesday.
After RTI response surfaced, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala released the list of the top loan defaulters in country and demanded the answers from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on why their loans were waived.