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ATMs, banks full of scared people but SBI writes off Rs 7,016 crore loans of 63 wilful defaulters

The information has surfaced amid the government’s alleged drive against corruption and black money – by demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes - which has left the people stranded in queues at ATMs and banks.

State Bank of India, India’s largest public sector bank, has written off loans worth about Rs 7,016 crore owed to it by more than 60 of its top 100 wilful defaulters including loans given to Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines.

The documents, accessed by DNA newspaper, reveal that of the 100 wilful defaulters, 63 accounts in the list have been fully written off, 31 have been partially written off and six have been shown as non-performing assets (NPAs).

The information has surfaced amid the government’s alleged drive against corruption and black money – by demonetising Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes – which has left the people stranded in queues at ATMs and banks.

SBI’s efforts to recover its dues from wilful defaulters have been futile over the time. The bank seems to have started a clean-up of its balance sheets by writing off Rs 48,000 crore worth bad loans.

The loans given to Vijay Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines, which tops the wilful defaulters’ list with an whopping amount of Rs 1,201 crore, and 62 others will not be shown in the bank’s balance sheet as the SBI has dropped the money into Advance Under Collection Account (AUCA), technically known as a write-off.

Following the Kingfisher airlines in the top 20 write-off list are KS Oil (Rs 596 crore), Surya Pharmaceuticals (Rs 526 crore), GET Power (Rs 400 crore) and SAI Info System (Rs 376 crore).

Commenting on the report, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that banks have started doing what he always feared. “I feared the hard-earned money of the people will be deposited in banks and banks will write-off the loans of rich people. See, it has already started),” Kejriwal tweeted.

In February, The Indian Express reported that 29 state-owned banks wrote off a total Rs 1.14 lakh crore of bad debt between financial years 2013 and 2015. The Supreme Court, had called the write off “a big fraud” and ordered the RBI to share with it names of the biggest defaulters.

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