Noted entrepreneur Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw says beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya should be given a fair opportunity to settle the loan default issues with banks, and maintained media trial against him would not help matters.
Resolution of debt and financial disputes take a long time in the country due to lack of a bankruptcy law, she said in an interview and noted Mallya has himself clarified he is willing to settle the loan default case and hence he needs to be given a fair opportunity to do so.
She expressed confidence Mallya would return to India.
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Pointing that the case was pending before the Debt Recovery Tribunal for some years, the Chairperson and MD of biotechnology major Biocon, said: “It (settlement) does not happen overnight” and said media exerting pressure on Mallya to settle the dues instantly does not make it easy.
“Today everybody is being tried by media…whether it’s banks recovering their debts..whether it’s the debtors, whether it’s the government..everybody is being tried by media…for instant recovery of all dues – each and every penny…which is unrealistic. So, media frenzy is getting in the way of following due processes,” she said.
Interestingly, noted industrialist Rahul Bajaj had said, “Wherever there are justifiable reasons (for non-payment of loans), actions should not be taken. However, where there are cases of wilful default, where loans were diverted for other purposes, action should be taken. Catching thieves will not harm the country.”
Mazumdar-Shaw, however, said there are many companies which have large debts even though they have not been declared as defaulters. One has to focus on the bigger issues of debt recovery and dispute resolution and also on the mounting debt of public sector banks which is causing financial stress.
The proposed bankruptcy law, when cleared by Parliament, would certainly expedite the process of resolving these enormous challenges (NPA issue), she said.
“There are many debts which have to be recovered. Fair opportunity should be give to debtors to settle. But just being carried away by TV shows, nothing is going to come.”
“I think every defaulter should be given an opportunity to settle. If you constantly threaten the debtor that you will be arrested, you will be put behind bars… that’s not the way to recover the debts.”
“We never had bankruptcy law which is very important law to deal with all these things. I think we have to give an opportunity not just to Vijay Mallya but all debtors and defaulters to try and settle with banks and banks to recover as much dues as they can,” Mazumdar-Shaw noted.
Noting that she and Mallya grew up together, she said “I have known him for a long time. And I know that he is sincerely trying to settle his debt. But now he is so worried about the way media has been going after him.”
On whether Mallya would return to India, she said: “I am sure he will. Of course he is very worried about what will happen when he comes back. He is very keen to settle.”