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SBI writes off bad loans of Rs 7,016 cr; Cong questions Modi govt

The State Bank of India has reportedly cleaned up non-performing assets worth Rs 7,016 crore from its books by writing off loans given to 63 wilful defaulters. Of the 63 accounts, 31 have been partially written off and six shown as NPAs, Daily News & Analysis reported on Wednesday.

Under the clean-up drive, the bank is forgoing almost Rs 1,201 crore in dues to Vijay Mallya's defunct Kingfisher Airlines, which is at the top of the list of wilful defaulters. In other words, loans given to Kinfsiher Airlines will no longer be shown in the bank's balance sheet, though the airline has outstanding dues of almost Rs 1,201 crore.

Among other prominent defaulters in the 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).

The Congress party immediately raised the issue and linked it to the government's demonetisation drive. "As Modiji's blue-eyed boy Mallya gets a Rs 1,200-cr write-off, fighting black money is political hypocrisy at its worst," said Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Congress leader Anand Sharma expressed his suspision that the money received from people might be used to recapitalise the banks and wipe out Rs 6 lakh crore of non-performing assets of big industrialists.

"The Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) are to the tune of Rs 6 lakh crore. Do they want to utilise the money deposited by people in banks to wipe out the NPAs (on account) of industrialists who have played fraud on the country?" Congress spokesman Kapil Sibal said at a briefing by the All-India Congress Committee.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal too has called demonetisation the biggest scam.

"This is what we feared. The hard-earned money of people will be put into banks to write off the loans of crorepatis. They have already started doing it," Kejriwal said on Twitter."