Banks have written off loans worth up to Rs 68,000 crore as of September 30, 2019, claims Right to Information (RTI) activist Saket Gokhale after getting information regarding this from the Reserve Bank of India(RBI) .
Gokhale filed an application with the Reserve Bank seeking details pertaining to the top 50 'wilful defaulters' and their current loan status as of February 16. He received a reply to his application on April 24.
Gokhale posted the same via his Twitter handle, mentioning that "the total amount owed by top 50 willful defaulters is Rs 68,607 crores".
Featuring on top of the 'wilful defaulters' list is the scam-hit Gitanjali Gems Limited, owned by fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi. The second and third spots are taken by FMCG company REI Agro Limited and Jatin Mehta's Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery Limited.
Fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines also features on the list, with Rs 1,943 crore worth of written-off loans against its name.
A company is classified as a ‘wilful defaulter’, as per the RBI's definition, if it has not met repayment obligations despite having the capacity to do so. In the RTI response, the central bank did not, however, disclose information on overseas borrowers. Citing a Supreme Court judgement, it said that the said information was exempted from public disclosure.