Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday said that banks will take every possible measures to recover loan money from Vijay Mallya amid charges by opposition, especially Rahul Gandhi, over charges that the embattled industrialist was allowed to flee the country.
Vijay Mallya, who is facing loan default cases by a group of banks led by State Bank of India, left the country on March 2, according to the government.
“Banks and their consortium have started taking active action against Vijay Mallya. His assets are being attached,” Arun Jaitley informed the Lok Sabha on Thursday.
Raising the issue, both inside and outside Parliament, the opposition parties targeted the government.
“How did Mallya manage to flee? Why did the government allow him to go?” Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said as he attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue.
Raising the issue in Rajya Sabha, leader of opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad said “Mallya is not a small instrument like a needle, which cannot be seen from a far distance. Why was Vijay Mallya not arrested? Why was his passport not seized?”
Another Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “The question is not about who gave loans to Mallya, the question is why was he allowed to leave India. Why was Vijay Mallya allowed to leave the country?”
Hitting back at Congress for its charge that the government has alloweved Vijay Mallya to leave India, Jaitley said that “we cannot forget that Mallya was granted loans under the UPA government.”
“The first batch of loans to Mallya was sanctioned in 2004 when the UPA government was in power. The dates speak for themselves,” Jaitley said.
Jaitley said the banks have been asked to recover “every penny that is due”, adding that the first banking facility was given to Mallya and his companies in September 2004 which were renewed in February 2008.
The Finance Minister was quick to point out that the banks delayed filing due process against Mallya and that it only occurred after he left the country.
(With agencies input)