The Reserve Bank of India recently revealed in response to an RTI query that 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 September 30, 2019.
The body however emphasised that the data was “as reported by banks”. It added that the Reserve Bank would not be held accountable for any incorrect information given by the reporting entities.
Information regarding the country’s biggest loan defaulters has been sought several times – including by Congress leader and MP Rahul Gandhi. At the time, the question had led to sharp exchanges and an uproar in the Lok Sabha.
On Tuesday, after the news broke, Gandhi took to Twitter to share a video compilation of his request for information.
"I asked a simple question in Parliament - tell me the names of the 50 biggest bank thieves in the country. The Finance Minister refused to answer. Now the RBI has put the names of 'friends' of BJP including Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi in the list of bank thieves. That is why this truth was hidden in the Parliament," Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.
An application incidentally had been filed by RTI activist Saket Gokhale who had sought the list of defaulters as on February 16, but the RBI said the requested information is not available. Citing a Supreme Court judgement and the RTI Act, the RBI had said that information on overseas borrowers is exempted from public disclosure.
Now, on Tuesday, the RBI’s written response dated April 24 emphasised that this was data as “reported in CRILC by banks”.