Finance Ministry Arun Jaitley on Wednesday said that though the State Bank of India has written off a Rs 1,200 crore loan to the now defunct Kingfisher Airlines, this does not exclude the possibility that the money will be recovered, NDTV reported. A Mumbai court had declared the the airline’s owner Vijay Mallya an absconder on November 11, after he failed to show up for trial in a series of money laundering cases.
The bank said the loan was categorised under the “Advance Under Collection Accounts” section. Earlier in the day, dna had reported that SBI had written off the loans of 63 wilful defaulters, including Vijay Mallya.
Responding to Communist Party of India (Marxist) Sitaram Yechury’s query in the Rajya Sabha about the write-off to Mallya during the Centre’s demonetisation exercise against black money, Jaitley said, “It only means that in accounting books, it is listed as a non-performing asset. A write off doesn’t mean forgiving loans. The loan will still be pursued.” The finance minister said the loan was a problem his government had inherited.
An unidentified official told NDTV that the recovery of loans in this category was low. State Bank of India had tried to auction Mallya’s property to recover the a portion of the loan including his luxurious Kingfisher villa in Goa, but there were no takers.
On November 8, India had asked the United Kingdom, where Mallya has been residing, to extradite the industrialist under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty as he owes around Rs 9,000 crore to 17 banks in India.