15% of India’s 5,600 wilful defaulters are from Gujarat

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Diamond merchants, a former IAS officer, engineering companies, a class 4 employee union of Vadodara city and a national level co-operative body feature in the list of over 5,600 wilful bank defaulters, according to a report. Gujarati businessmen or businessmen based out of Gujarat constitute close to 15% of the total accounts.

The latest list was released on Wednesday by All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), the apex body of bank employees.

Some of the major defaulters include Mukesh Bhandari-owned Electrotherm India, Surat-based JB Diamonds, Neesa Group companies owned by former IAS officer, Sanjay Gupta and Sai Info Systems India Ltd, founded by the now absconding Sunil Kakkad.

Briefing media persons here, Janak Raval, general secretary of Mahagujarat Bank Employees Association (MGBEA) said these defaulters are capable of paying loans but have not paid. “Many banks have made various efforts to get back the money but not a single Rupee has been recovered,” he said.

“So far only a civil case is filed against the defaulters. We have sought permission to file criminal cases against them. Also we have sought a ban on defaulters contesting elections to the legislatures. However, the suggestion was turned down by the Election Commission of India,” he added.

MGBEA said under the guise of Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs), bad loans are hived off to ARCs who sell the same accounts to original defaulters at a fraction of the amount of their default.

Raval said a reason for the high defaults is that top executives of various banks are on the boards of large corporates, who guide companies on how to default, without getting penalised.