‘Govt twisting facts’: Congress tries to put FM Nirmala Sitharaman in the dock over bad loans and write-offs

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Updated: Apr 29, 2020 1:49 PM

An intense war of words broke out between the Congress and the government on Tuesday after the former claimed that the Modi government has waived Rs 68,607 crore worth loans of the top 50 bank loan defaulters.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. File pic

A day after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman refuted Congress’ allegations regarding wilful defaulters, bad loans and write-offs, the grand old party alleged that the government was busy “twisting facts” instead of answering the questions raised by the party. In a series of tweets today morning, party chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala accused the Modi government of weakening the country’s banking system.

“Simple answer that FM Nirmala Sitharamana needs to give instead of twisting facts-: 1. Why has Modi Govt written off Bank Loans worth Rs 6,66,000 Cr between 2014-15 & 2019-20? 2. Is RBI’s RTI reply dated 24th April, 2020 of Bank loans write off of Rs 68,607 Cr wrong or right? 3. Why is Modi Govt righting off Bank Loans of absconders & fraudsters like Nirav Modi+Mehul Choksi (Rs 8,048 CR), Jatin Mehta (Rs 6,038 CR), Mallya (Rs 1,943 CR) & others as per RBI’s RTI reply of 24/4/2020? 4. Who permitted such huge write offs of Bank loans of defaulters & why?” he asked on Wednesday.

“And Sitharaman ji, Cleaning the Banks of people’s money by writing off loans of absconders & fraudsters is not called ‘cleaning the system’. It’s called weakening the entire Bank architecture fiscally & imprudently, if not maliciously,” Surjewala added.

An intense war of words broke out between the Congress and the government on Tuesday after the former claimed that the Modi government has waived Rs 68,607 crore worth loans of the top 50 bank loan defaulters, including fugitives Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya. The party cited an RTI reply from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to attest its claim.

Former party president Rahul Gandhi said that he had asked for the names of the country’s top 50 bank loan defaulters in Parliament, but the government did not answer.

“Now the RBI has given the names of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and many of BJP”s ”friends” in the list of bank frauds. That is why this truth was held back from Parliament,” he tweeted.

Rubbishing the party’s charge, Sitharaman had said that the Congress was making attempts to mislead people in a brazen manner.

“Rahul Gandhi, MP (LS), and Randeep Singh Surjewala, spokesperson of Congress, have attempted to mislead people in a brazen manner. Typical to Congress, they resort to sensationalising facts by taking them out of context,” she tweeted.

“Today’s attempt of Congress leaders is to mislead on wilful defaulters, bad loans and write-offs. Between 2009-10 and 2013-14, scheduled commercial banks had written off Rs 1,45,226.00 crore. Wished Rahul Gandhi consulted Dr Manmohan Singh on what this writing-off was about,” the Finance Minister said.

She also 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 wrote.

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