New Delhi, Feb 23: The controversy surrounding the alleged fraud of Rs 11, 400 crore by billionaire jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi has brought to the fore the problem of bad loans, which is gradually becoming unmanageable. An analysis of data available publicly has revealed that “wilful defaulters” alone owe various banks Rs 1.1 lakh crore.
“Wilful defaulters” are people who don’t return money to banks despite having the capability to do so. The Times of India analysed 9,000 accounts to arrive at the figure. Banks have filed lawsuits against these accounts. It is revealed that 11 corporate houses alone owe banks Rs 26,000 crore.
TOI reported that Jatin Mehta-promoted Winsome Diamonds & Jewellery Ltd and Forever Precious Jewellery & Diamonds Ltd owed close to Rs 5,500 crore to various banks. Jatin Mehta now lives in St Kitts and Nevis, which is a tax haven. India doesn’t have an extradition treaty with the country; hence, a safe century for defaulters.
Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines is another such company, with an outstanding of Rs 3,000 crore. He is holed up in the United Kingdom. Indian government is fighting a legal battle to bring him back.
REI Agro, a company owned by Sandip Jhunjhunwala, owes Rs 2,730 crore. The amount due on Mahuaa Media, Pearl Studio Pvt. Ltd, Century Communication and Pixion Media Pvt Ltd is Rs 2,416 crore.
Reid & Taylor (India) Limited and S Kumars Nationwide Limited, both promoted by Nitin Kasliwal, are also in the list of wilful defaulters.
The bad loans are growing by leaps and bound, an alarming situation for the economy. It grew by 27 per cent last year. In the last four years, the unpaid loans by wilful defaulters reached Rs 1.1 lakh crore from Rs 28, 417 crore.