The State Bank of India got non-performing assets worth Rs 7,016 crore off its books by writing off loans owed to it by 63 wilful defaulters, Daily News & Analysis reported Wednesday. The clean-up saw the bank forgo almost Rs 1,201 crore in dues owed by Vijay Mallya’s defunct Kingfisher Airlines, which heads the list of wilful defaulters. Documents accessed by DNA reveal that 63 accounts have been fully written off, 31 partially written off and six have been shown as NPAs. SBI adjusted its balance sheets by moving the Rs 7,016 crore to an Advance Under Collection Account (AUCA). The top wilful defaulters include KS Oil (Rs 596 crore), Surya Pharmaceuticals (Rs 526 crore), GET Power (Rs 400 crore) and SAI Info System (Rs 376 crore).
Mallya, who has been declared by ED as a proclaimed offender, has left the country after banks moved the Supreme Court to seize his assets. Kingfisher Airline owes a total of Rs 6,963 to 17 banks. In February, The Indian Express first reported that Twenty-nine state-owned banks wrote off a total of Rs 1.14 lakh crore of bad debts between financial years 2013 and 2015. SBI topped the list by writing of bad debts worth Rs 40,084 crore in the last three financial years. The Supreme Court, taking suo motu cognizance of The Indian Express report, called the write off “a big fraud” and ordered the RBI to share with it names of the biggest defaulters. On Tuesday, the Parliamentary consultative committee, constituted to study non-performing assets (NPAs) in the banking sector, has suggested that the government should name all the defaulters whose loans have been written off by state-owned banks.
“Members (of the committee) suggested that there is need for bringing more transparency in the system, and list of all the defaulters whose loans have been written off by the PSBs be made public. They asked for exemplary action against the wilful defaulters so that others do not indulge in similar activities,” said a statement released by the Finance Ministry.