During a House debate on demonetisation, CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury raised the State Bank of India’s move to write off Rs 1,200 crore owed to it by Vijay Mallya’s defunct airlines Kingfisher Airlines. Union Finance Minsiter Arun Jaitley replied saying that a write-off doesn’t necessarily mean that the bank was not going to pursue the bad debt. He added the NDA government had inherited a legacy of bad loans. “Bad loans write-off doesn’t mean we won’t pursue it. NDA government has inherited a legacy of bad loans,” Jaitley said in Rajya Sabha. Yechury, however, said that the loan “is something that is not going to be realized.”
DNA on Wednesday reported that the SBI got bad loans worth Rs 7,016 crore off its books by moving them to an Advance Under Collection Account (AUCA). SBI has written off loans owed to it by 62 wilful defaulters, including Kingfisher airlines. Documents accessed by DNA reveal that 63 accounts have been fully written off, 31 partially written off and six have been shown as NPAs.
Earlier, Yechury came down heavily against the Modi government’s move to declare old tender illegal. Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, he said “small fish are dying, while big crocodiles are enjoying”. “Demonetisation is like PM clearing the pond to kill the crocodiles. Not realising crocodiles can live on land as well,” Yechury said. Questioning the government’s logic behind scrapping old Rs 500, Rs 1000 notes, Yechury said that 86 per cent of the transactions in the country are in cash and 80.8 per cent of the rural population was not covered by the banking system.
Yechury rued that plantation workers have been committing suicide, unable to make ends meet, and truckers across the country were feeling the heat over the issue. ““Will truck drivers eat at dhabas with credit cards?” asked Yechury. He demanded the government to allow public to use old notes until alternative arrangements were made.