Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman criticised Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, April 28 for "misleading people" by sensationalising facts and taking reports out of context. The minister was responding to increasing queries regarding an RTI request which showed that RBI had written off Rs 68,000 crores loans of wilful defaulters and clarified the Centre's stand on the subject.
Shri @RahulGandhi MP (LS) and Shri @rssurjewala spokesperson of @INCIndia have attempted to mislead people in a brazen manner. Typical to @INCIndia, they resort to sensationalising facts by taking them out of context. In the following tweets wish to respond to the issues raised.— Nirmala Sitharaman (@nsitharaman) April 28, 2020
In a series of tweets late on Tuesday evening, Sitharaman stated that between 2009-2010 and 2013-2014, under the UPA rule lead by Congress, scheduled commercial banks had written off Rs.1,45,226 crores worth of loans. Explaining the process, Sitharaman said that provisions are made for NPAs as per the four-year provisioning cycle laid down by the RBI.
The Union Minister explained in her tweets, "Upon full provisioning being done banks write-off the fully provided NPA but continue to pursue recovery against the borrower. No loan is waived off. Those defaulters who do not repay despite having capacity to pay, divert or siphon-off funds, or dispose of secured assets without bank’s permission are categorised as wilful defaulters. They are those well connected promoters who benefitted from UPA’s ‘Phone banking’".
Earlier, the Congress had alleged that the Modi government waived Rs 68,607 crore of the top 50 bank loan defaulters, including Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and Vijay Mallya. Congress also alleged that the government waived loans worth Rs 6.66 lakh crore from 2014 till September 2019.
In a video press conference, INC spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "This is a classic case of promoting 'dupe, deceive and depart' policy of the Modi government, which can no longer be accepted and the prime minister has to answer." He added that it reflects the government's "misconceived priorities and dishonest intentions."
Dissecting certain high profile cases, Sitharaman said that the Modi government had taken steps to recover money through various steps such as seizing, attaching, and auctioning various assets and possessions. She added that extradition requests had been made to the countries the defaulters were living in.
Sitharaman concluded her statement by citing the replies given to various questions raised in the Lok Sabha and asked the Wayanad MP to introspect and understand how the UPA government failed to clean the system and how the Congress failed to show any "commitment or inclination to stop corruption & cronyism."
(with agency inputs)