Why blame only Mallya when there are over 5,000 more who owe banks Rs 56,621 cr

Mallya escapes India
Representational image

Liquor baron Vijay Mallya has been making news ever since he fled India, leaving behind his 9,000 crore dues.

However, the 60 year old pony-tailed entrepreneur is not the only one . There are 5,275 other “wilful defaulters”—together, who owe Indian banks Rs 56,521 crore ($8.56 billion), according to the Credit Information Bureau (India) Ltd, or CIBIL, a company set up by banks to collect defaulter information.

When the borrowers deliberately do not repay loans, despite possessing the ability to do so, they are declared as wilful defaulters by the banks. Vijay Mallya’s now un-operational Kingfisher Airlines is fourth on CIBIL’s list.

It has been found out that the dues that wilful defaulters owe Indian banks has grown nine-times over 13 years.

India’s five leading wilful defaulters are Mumbai-based Winsome Diamonds & Jewellery Ltd. and associate Forever Precious Jewellery & Diamonds Ltd., which together owe banks Rs 3,263 crore. They are followed by Indore-based real-estate developer Zoom Developers (Rs 1,647 crore), Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. (Rs 1,200 crore), Mumbai-based Beta Naphthol (Rs 951 crore) and Kanpur-based Raza Textiles (Rs 694 crore).

Among the wilful defaulters is also English daily Deccan Chronicle, which survives despite a string of unpaid loans—used for other businesses, including a cricket team—and Mumbai-based JB Diamonds, the target of income-tax raids after a 2010 Rs 800-crore default.

Maharashtra leads the pack of defaulters amassing 1,138, who owe Rs 21,647 crore. Followed by West Bengal with 710 and Andhra Pradesh with 567 cases.

A legal source revealed that government banks face immense pressure from parliamentarians to provide loans to corporate, the politician-bureaucrat-corporate nexus is very strong.

Various cases are underway against wilful defaulters in debt recovery tribunals nationwide. However, there are many more who have escaped legal action.

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