RED-faced over diamantaire Nirav Modi slipping out of the country, the Ministry of Home Affairs last Friday directed the Bureau of Immigration not to allow promoters of companies that have defaulted on their bank loans to leave the country.
“They have been told not to allow them through the emigration check point and to turn them back,” sources said. “No arrests have to be made.”
These persons, they said, would be allowed to travel only when the individual submits a court order permitting him or her to travel abroad for a specific purpose, mainly for medical treatment. However, for such relaxation, the identified defaulters would have to pledge a collateral and indemnify that their family members would reside in the country during their absence.
Sources said the direction was issued after the Reserve Bank of India provided the list of defaulters that was handed to the Ministry of External Affairs for providing their passport details. The names and their passport numbers were sent to the Bureau earlier this month, said sources.
However, when contacted, Commissioner (Immigration) P K Bhardwaj said he could neither confirm nor deny the development. “I have been out of Delhi since Monday. If this direction would have been issued, I would have been informed.”
A wilful defaulter is an entity or a person that has not paid back the loan despite the ability to do so. According to the RBI, a wilful defaulter is to be identified on the basis of the track record and not isolated transactions.
According to data with the Credit Information Bureau of India Ltd, state-owned banks reported wilful defaults of Rs 93,357 crore involving 7,564 borrowers as of September 2017.
The government is under fire after it emerged that Nirav Modi left the country days after the Rs 11,400-crore fraud complaint was registered by Punjab National Bank.