The Congress today accused Finance Minister Arun Jaitley of “fooling” people with his statement that no loans of big defaulters have been waived and claimed the government had written off Rs 1.88 lakh crore debt of those who had wilfully defaulted. Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi alleged that the government “helped crony friends” of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who are “strong”, while the common people feel “helpless”. “Modi Government has continuously and constantly benefited a select group of cronies by waiving their loans, even though the NPAs in the banks are piling up, thus putting the bank deposits and the state’s exchequer at risk,” he told reporters. Singhvi termed Jaitley’s claim of “no waiving of loans of big defaulters” as untrue and asserted that the evidence in public domain is contrary to his claims. He said in the past three years, the BJP government has already waived loans of wilful defaulters worth Rs 1,88,287 crore.
Citing figures, he said, Rs 49,018 crore was waived in 2014-15, Rs 57,586 crore in 2015-16 and another Rs 81,683 crore in 2016-17, totalling Rs 1.88 lakh crore. “Then why is Shri Jaitley fooling the intelligence of Rs 125 crore Indians by saying that there is no loan waiver?,” he asked. Criticising the Rs 2.11 lakh crore bank recapitalisation plan announced by Jaitley, he said, it has neither a “roadmap” nor a “timeframe” and the Congress is waiting for the finance minister to spell that out. “The banking saga has all the ingredients of a full- fledged Shakespearean tragedy. Out of the three protagonists, the government as the majority shareholder and the corporate borrower are wearing their victimhood as a badge of honour. “Whereas, the real victim, the customer, is the unsung hero coerced into parting with his money. In this saga, the ‘mazboot’ (strong) are the crony friends of Shri Modi and the ‘majboor’ (helpless) are the common people of India,” he said, adding Modi was bent upon imposing the “Gujarat suit-boot’ model on the country.
The Congress leader also questioned the finance minister on his claim that “recovery from 12 largest defaulters who account for non-performing assets totalling Rs 1.75 lakh crore is underway”. “We all know that top 50 corporates owe Rs 8.35 lakh crores to banks and out of those 3 top Gujarat based companies – Reliance (Anil Ambani Group), Adani and Essar owe Rs 3 lakh crore. “One of them had last month publicly declared that they are shutting their telecom business with a liability of Rs 45,000 crore due to banks. “We would like to ask Finance Minister Arun Jaitley that far from declaring it as NPAs, you are trying to help the defaulter with further defence contracts like the Rafale deal. Why?,” he asked.
Singhvi also said that “if these were legacies of the UPA as you are adapt at passing on your deficiencies on someone else, what has prevented you to declare this liability of Rs 45,000 crore as an NPA, rather than giving them an offset contract worth Rs 30,000 crore in the Rafale deal?.” The Congres leader also cited the statement of State Bank of India chairman referring to the bankruptcy ordinance and saying “I am willing to take a haircut but not go bald!”.
“This effectively means and that is on record that they can forgo part of NPAs but not the complete outstanding loan,” he said.