Millennium Post

Pay dues honourably or face coercive action: FM to Mallya

In a stern warning to wilful defaulters like Vijay Mallya, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said they should settle their dues honourably with banks or else be ready to face “coercive action” by lenders and investigative agencies.

“I don’t want to make any comment on individual cases but I think it’s a responsibility of large groups like his (Vijay Mallya’s) to honourably settle their dues with the banks,” he said.

He added that banks have certain collaterals of group companies of Vijay Mallya and will take legal action to recover dues that are in excess of Rs 9,000 crore.

“Banks have some securities. Banks plus other agencies also have coercive methods available with them through legal enforcement...these are all being investigated by relevant agencies,” he said.

Mallya, promoter of long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines, had left India on March 2, presumably for London, days before the Supreme Court heard a plea of clutch of state-owned banks seeking recovery from his group firms.

Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines owed Rs 7,800 crore to a consortium of 17 lenders led by State Bank, which had an exposure of over Rs 1,600 crore to the now defunct airline.

Other banks that have exposure to the airline include Punjab National Bank and IDBI Bank (Rs 800 crore each), Bank of India (Rs 650 crore), Bank of Baroda (Rs 550 crore), Central Bank of India (Rs 410 crore). UCO Bank has to recover Rs 320 crore, Corporation Bank (Rs 310 crore), State Bank of Mysore, (Rs 150 crore), Indian Overseas Bank (Rs 140 crore), Federal Bank (Rs 90 crore), Punjab & Sind Bank (Rs 60 crore) and Axis Bank (Rs 50 crore).

The Finance Minister said the government has been trying to address the problem of NPAs in sectors such as steel, textile, highways and infrastructure, which are on account of economic slowdown.

“I think the NPA resolution process will now begin. The sectors which have caused distress... I have always said that there are two kinds of NPAs. One is because of economic environment, the losses in certain categories of industry. Now those areas we are trying to address,” he said.

No major mistake in  policy, governance, says Jaitley
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led NDA government has not made any major mistake in terms of governance – both on integrity and policy – in two years and “that says a lot”, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Monday. He asserted that the government is directional and is moving forward decisively without any collateral considerations unlike its predecessor.

“I think this government, in terms of governance issues – both in terms of its integrity and in terms of policy – is yet to make its first major mistake. And that says a lot,” he said when asked about the government’s major achievements in its two years in office.

Jaitley claimed that the hallmark of this government was quick decision-making in all areas. He added that the government was giving a direction to the country’s policies and that is what clearly distinguishes it from its predecessor governments.

“When you compare it with its predecessor governments, in terms of direction and you see any department of the government, the decisions are more reform-oriented, they are bold and the direction is absolutely clear rather than confusing,” the Finance Minister said.

Attacking the erstwhile UPA government, he said the decisions now are not motivated by any collateral considerations.

“There are no corrupt motives. And I think the ethics of this government distinguishes it from its predecessor government,” Jaitley said. 
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