The Bank of Baroda on Monday withdrew an e-auction notice for Bharatiya Janata Party MP and actor Sunny Deol’s Mumbai bungalow to recover dues amounting to nearly Rs 56 crore, citing “technical reasons”.
However, after criticism, the bank issued a clarification saying that Deol has offered to settle his dues and that the sale notice was based on a “symbolic possession” of the property.
“In the meantime, the borrower [Deol] has approached the bank for settling the dues as per the sale notice published on August 20, wherein the borrower/guarantors were notified that they are entitled to redeem the securities by paying the outstanding dues/costs/charges and expenses at any time before the sale is conducted,” the bank said.
It added that earlier notice did not specify the exact quantum of dues to be recovered.
The bank had put Deol’s property in Juhu on the block on Sunday to recover the amount through an e-auction to be held on September 25. The Lok Sabha MP from Punjab’s Gurdaspur owes the lender Rs 55.99 crore since December 26.
“The loan was taken for the purpose of film financing in 2016, and it is an NPA [non-performing asset] since December last year,” an unidentified person familiar with the matter told Moneycontrol.
A loan turns bad or becomes an NPA if it is overdue for over 90 days. After this, banks can auction the properties of a borrower to recover the amount.
The Bank of Baroda had kept the reserve price for Deol’s house named Sunny Villa at Rs 51.43 crore. The reserve price is the price below which a person cannot sell the property.
The bank had issued the notice according to the statutory 30-day notice needed under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002. It had said that the Deols can still settle their outstanding debt with the bank to prevent the auction.
However, earlier on Monday, the public sector bank said in a statement that the notice to Deol stands withdrawn due to “technical reasons”, without elaborating further.
The swift withdrawal of the notice against Deol had raised questions from the Congress.
“This morning, in less than 24 hours, the nation has got to know that the Bank of Baroda has withdrawn the auction notice due to ‘technical reasons’,” Congress MP Jairam Ramesh said in a tweet. “Wonder who triggered these ‘technical reasons’?”
Hours later, Ramesh said that undoubtedly, the public outcry and the media coverage had led the Bank of Baroda to issue a “clarification” on the so-called “technical reasons” for withdrawal of its notice.
Although a Lok Sabha MP, Deol has had a poor record of participating in Parliament. The politician, had a zero attendance in the latest Monsoon Session.
Last year, people from Gurdaspur had also put up posters of Deol as missing person to register their protest against the MP who did not visit the constituency since he was elected in 2019.
“After becoming MP, he never visited Gurdaspur,” a protesting local had told ANI. “He calls himself the son of Punjab but he hasn’t brought any industrial development, not allocated MP funds or brought any Central government scheme here. If he doesn’t want to work, he should tender his resignation.”