New Delhi: An online petition demanding launch of criminal proceedings against big corporate defaulters like businessman Vijay Mallya has gone viral on social media platform with over 1.10 lakh people signing the plea on technology platform Change.org in this regard.
The petition demands criminal proceedings to be initiated against as many as 44 big defaulters who owe over Rs 4.8 lakh crore to public sector banks, quoting latest available data as on March 31, 2015.
This Change.org petition, which was started in February 2016, requests Finance Minister Arun Jaitley "to set a strong example that will make corporate defaulters think twice before cheating."
The petition quotes media reports showing that the country's top five Public Sector Banks had outstandings of Rs 4.87 lakh crore from 44 big borrowers, each with pending dues worth over Rs 5,000 crore.
There has been a growing clamour in the recent past to seek urgent action against Mallya for recovery of dues totalling over Rs 9,000 crore in unpaid loans and applicable interest.
Mallya, as also his long-grounded Kingfisher Airline and UB Group holding company UBHL, have been declared wilful defaulters by some banks, while a consortium of 17 lenders, headed by SBI, have approached courts to seek fast recovery of their dues.
As per the latest available data, there are about 7,686 wilful defaulters who owe Rs 66,190 crore to public sector banks. Of these, suits have been filed in 6,816 cases and FIRs have been lodged in 1,669 cases.
Banks have initiated action under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act (Sarfaesi) Act in 584 such cases.
Yesterday, Mallya was directed by the Supreme Court to disclose by April 21 the total assets owned by him and his family in India and abroad. After banks rejected an earlier Rs 4,000 crore settlement offer from Mallya, the court also asked him to deposit a "substantial amount" with it to "prove his bonafide" that he was "serious" about meaningful negotiations and settlement.
The petition says "hardworking people like you and me run from pillar to post for a bank loan. We are held accountable if we can't pay the loan back. Why should the taxpayer pay the price for corporate mistakes?"
It further reads "73 per cent of these unpaid loans are from India's rich, like Vijay Mallya. Many of these unpaid loans are being written off. Instead of recovering them, we are pressurising the middle class and poor farmers. Why should the common people of this country suffer while rich men like Vijay Mallya escape?"