Outstanding loans amounting to Rs 68,607 crore of top 50 wilful bank loan defaulters in the country including firms of Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya have been technically written off till 30 September, 2019, the Reserve Bank of India said in a RTI reply.
Featuring on top of the ‘wilful defaulters’ list is the scam-hit Gitanjali Gems Limited, owned by fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi. The second and third spots are taken by FMCG company REI Agro Limited and Jatin Mehta’s Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Limited. Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines also features on the list, with Rs 1,943 crore worth of written-off loans against its name.
The RBI responded to my RTI with a list of willful defaulters (and the amount owed) as of 30th Sep, 2019.
— Saket Gokhale (@SaketGokhale) April 27, 2020
Prominent RTI activist Saket Gokhale had filed an RTI query with the RBI seeking details of the 50 top wilful defaulters and their current loan status till February 16. Disclosing what the government didn’t, the RBI’s Central Public Information Officer Abhay Kumar provided the replies on Saturday (April 24), with several startling revelations in the ‘diamond-studded list’, said Gokhale.
The RBI said that this amount (Rs 68,607 crore) comprising outstanding and the amounts technically/prudentially written off till September 30, 2019.
Here is the list of top defaulters:
- The first in the list is Choksi’s scam-hit company, Gitanjali Gems Limited, which owed Rs 5,492 crore, besides other group companies, Gili India Ltd and Nakshatra Brands Ltd, which had taken loans of Rs 1,447 crore and Rs 1,109 crore, respectively. Choksi has become a citizen of Antigua and Barbados Isles, while his nephew and another absconder diamond trader Nirav Modi resides in London.
- The next in the list is REI Agro Ltd., with an amount of Rs 4,314 crore, and its directors Sandip Jhujhunwala and Sanjay Jhunjhunwala who are already under the scanner of the Enforcement Directorate (ED) since over a year.
- The next in the line falls in the Rs 4,000-crore bracket diamantaire Jatin Mehta”s Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery owing Rs 4,076 crore and which is being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation for various bank frauds.
- In the Rs 2,000-crore category, there is the Kanpur-based writing instruments giant, Rotomac Global Pvt. Ltd., part of the famed Kothari group, which owed Rs 2,850 crore. Other renowned people in this category include Kudos Chemie, Punjab (Rs.2,326 crore), Baba Ramdev and Balkrishna”s group company Ruchi Soya Industries Ltd., Indore (Rs.2,212 crore), and Zoom Developers Pvt. Ltd., Gwalior (Rs.2,012 crore).
- Another 18 companies come under the Rs 1K-crore segment with some prominent names like Harish R. Mehta”s Ahmedabad-based Forever Precious Jewellery & Diamonds Pvt. Ltd. (Rs.,1962 crore), and absconder liquor baron Vijay Mallya”s defunct Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. (Rs 1,943 crore).
- The other 25 companies fall in the sub-1k-crore category with out-standings ranging from Rs 605 crore to Rs 984 crore, either individually or as group companies.