Even as the risk of Covid-related bank loans turning sour looms large, the All India Bank Employees Association Saturday released a list of 2,426 wilful defaulters, who together owe over Rs 1.47 lakh crore to 17 public sector banks, evoking a sharp criticism from Trinamool Congress, which said the money “looted” would have been enough to transfer lakhs of rupees into the accounts of jobless migrant workers.
“Received a list of 2,426 wilful defaulters from All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) today. Rs 1,47,350 crore looted from the common man. Enough to transfer lakhs of rupees to each jobless migrant worker,” TMC MP Derek O’Brien tweeted.
He also accused the government of “abetting” crony capitalism.
Mehul Choksi-owned Gitanjali Gems with its default of Rs 4,644 crore to Punjab National Bank tops the list, followed by ABG Shipyard Ltd, which owes Rs 1,875 crore from the State Bank of India.
REI Agro Ltd, Ruchi Soya Industries, Gili India, Winsome Diamonds & Jewellery, Kudos Chemie and Nakshatra Brands Ltd are the firms, which owe more than Rs 1,000 crore each.
Coastal Projects and Winsome Diamonds & Jewellery too are among top 10 defaulters, who together owe Rs17,005 crore to PSU banks.
AIBEA has demanded to stop the present practice of giving concessions to defaulters.
In a release, CH Venkatachalam, general secretary of All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) says, “Atmanirbhar or self-dependency cannot be achieved by weakening our public sector banks (PSBs) or by privatising our banks. We have a very bitter experience with private banks in our country. The only major problem faced by our banks is the bulging and alarmingly increasing bad loans by private companies and corporates. If tough action is taken on them and money is recovered, our banks can play a bigger role in national development,” said CH Venkatachalam, general secretary of AIBEA in a statement.
Among the 17 public sector lenders, SBI has the highest number of wilful defaulters at 685 who together had defaulted on a loan of Rs 43,887 crore. It is followed by PNB with 325 defaulters owing Rs 22,370 crore.