Amid a raging row over Vijay Mallya fleeing the country, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said the banks will recover every penny of loan given to him and investigative agencies will take strong action against the liquor baron wherever he is found to have violated the law.
Mallya, promoter of long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines, had left India on March 2, presumably for London, days before Supreme Court heard a plea of clutch of state-owned banks seeking recovery of over Rs 9,000 crore from his group firms.
“… His (Mallya’s) facts are very clear. Every government agency, whether its taxation department or investigative agency, wherever he has violated law, is going to take strong action. As far as banks are concerned, they are going to recover every penny of the rupee that they can from him,” Jaitley said.
The minister was answering questions at India Today Conclave on what the government was doing to recover money from Mallya, who is currently in the UK.
He also said the government has been trying to address the problem of NPAs in sectors like steel, textile, highways and infrastructure, which are on account of economic slowdown.
“NPAs due to sectoral slowdown would cease to be NPAs once there is an upturn,” he added.
However, Jaitley said, the real source of worry was the cases involving “misconduct” on the part of individuals.
“There is a second category where large amounts of loans have been given in individual cases and some of the people misconducted themselves, there may not be adequate sureties and that’s a source of worry… This is the one, which is real cause of worry because there are moral and ethical issues without legal liability
“The kind of example (Mallya case)… Has brought a huge bad name to both to India’s banking as also to India’s private sector. It’s dangerous for the future if (we) are not able to remedy this,” he said.
He further said the immediate job of the government was to make sure public sector banks remained strong. “So I am trying to recapitalise banks.”