Was Bank of Baroda justified in backing out of the scheduled auction of a Juhu Plot owned by actor Sunny Deol? The FPJ had asked the bank if the actor and BJP MP's account was declared an NPA and whether he had been declared a defaulter. And how come the bank had withdrawn the auction notice within 24 hours of publishing it in the media? The question being asked in banking circles is whether the Bank had done due diligence before issuing the auction notice and if it had not done that then which officials are responsible for the same? And if indeed due diligence was done, then where was the need to withdraw the notice and that too within 24 hours? The bank has a lot of answering to do. But till the time of going to the press, the bank had not responded to its queries.
Sunny Deol expressed willingness to settle outstanding dues
The bank claimed on Monday that Sunny Deol had approached it and expressed his willingness to settle his outstanding dues. Both Sunny Deol and Dharmendra, who are borrowers/guarantors, were informed that they could redeem the securities by paying the outstanding dues, costs, charges, and expenses before the sale took place. The question once again is from where Sunny Deol, who did not repay his loan of Rs 55.99 crore till the auction notice was issued, is going to access funds to clear his debt?
During an interview with the media, Sunny Deol declined to comment on the matter, fearing that his words might be misinterpreted by the jounos. Close relatives of the actor had earlier issued a statement on his behalf, urging people not to speculate on the matter and stating that efforts were underway to resolve the issue.
Bank of Baroda's clarification
Bank of Baroda clarified that the withdrawal of the sale notice followed the “standard industry practice” applied in other cases as well. The bank had requested physical possession of the property from the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate on August 1, 2023, and was awaiting permission. As the property was reported to be operational by the borrower, the bank will initiate the sale action as per the provisions of the SARFAESI Act once physical possession is secured. In the interim, Sunny Deol approached the bank to settle all his dues before the sale could proceed.
The standard procedure involves the bank taking symbolic possession of the borrower's assets as part of actions against defaulters. This indicates the bank's intent to sell the property through auction and invites bids from interested parties. For the sale to be finalized, the bank must physically possess the property, allowing potential buyers to inspect it.