If the Kingfisher Airlines loan default case unravels the alleged nexus between bankers and businessmen, a close look into the list of wilful defaulters disclosed by Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited (CIBIL) and banks spells out names of at least five politicians, across the political spectrum, who are directors in companies that owe around Rs 900 crore to Indian banks.
The Indian Express looked into cases where the default amount is in excess of Rs 50 crore for one individual.
A detailed questionnaire sent to the five individuals or their companies, seeking their responses over the defaults, went unanswered.
In terms of the loan default amount, Jivraj Surani of JB Diamonds tops the list. The former Gujarat BJP vice-president who was a close aide of former Gujarat CM Keshubhai Patel owes Rs 466 crore to three banks as per the CIBIL report.
In 2007 Gujarat state elections, Surani campaigned for Gujarat Parivartan Party headed by Patel and later joined the Congress.
Next on the list is Shibaji Panja who set up RP Infosystems in partnership with Kaustuv Ray. Reported to be an aide of West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee (who in the past has denied any association with him), Panja was also a member of the task force attached to the state’s department of information and culture and a member of the tele-academy set up by the chief minister. Panja has been announced a wilful defaulter by five banks for loan default aggregating to over Rs 180 crore.
In February 2015, Panja was arrested for allegedly fraud related to a Delhi-based company amounting to around Rs 18 crore. Earlier, the economic offences wing of Delhi Police had issued a lookout notice in that regard. The arrest followed a complaint by an official of Delhi based IFCI Factors, an IFCI group company, where it alleged that Panja, who was the managing director of RP Infosystems, had taken a loan of Rs 10 crore against a bill pending payment in 2010.
Another politician on the list is Kadir Rana who was elected to the Lok Sabha from Muzaffarnagar seat in 2009 as a Bahujan Samajwadi Party candidate. Kadir Rana’s name appears on the list of wilful defaulters for loan default of over Rs 90 crore by two of his companies — Rana Udyog and Rana Global.
Along with these two companies, Rana Alloys and Haridwar Iron and Ispat Rolling owned by his close relatives have also defaulted on loans amounting to around Rs 135 crore.
In 2014 Kadir Rana, along with several others including his relative Noor Saleem Rana, were chargesheeted by the SIT for Muzaffarnagar riots. Noor Saleem Rana is also a director on one of the Rana Group companies.
The list also includes the name of Jasbir Singh Khangura or Jassi Khangura, a hotelier and former Congress MLA from Halqa Qila Raipur constituency in Punjab (2007-2012), for having defaulted on a loan of Rs 70 crore taken by his firm Macro Dairy Ventures which sells products under the brand TruMilk. He contested from Dakha constituency of the state in 2012 but failed to get re-elected.
Khangura came from UK to India in 1990s and set up Hotel Park Plaza in Ludhiana. He is married to Raman who is granddaughter of former Punjab CM Partap Singh Kairon.
Another politician whose name figures in the list is Ashok Kumar Bajpai, a former Congress party member who later joined BSP in 2007 and then joined Janata Dal (United). Bajpai’s name has been listed alongside the loan default of Rs 63 crore by Parerhat Gas. Bajpai’s mother, Rajendra Kumari Bajpai, was also a Congree leader and she served as minister of labour and social welfare, was a close confidant of Indira Gandhi. Rajendra Kumari has also been the Lieutenant Governor of Pondicherry.