Bank freezes Pilibhit farmer's two accounts for being Vijay Mallya's guarantor
Several Indian banks are going all-out to recover their dues running into several thousands of crores from the defunct Kingfisher Airlines' chairman Vijay Mallya, who is safely stay put in the UK. But in the process, a nationalised bank in India has frozen the account of Manmohan Singh, a farmer, for being a ‘guarantor’ to Vijay Mallya, who is embroiled in charges of money laundering.
Singh, a farmer from Pilibhit, was left running from pillar to post since September last year after Bank of Baroda's Mumbai branch asked the Nandgaon branch to freeze two his accounts for being guarantor to the disgraced business tycoon.
In fact, Singh said he was informed about the same when we went to deposit money into the bank.
“I went to deposit four lakh to the bank but they refused to accept the money. The bank manager said I have taken a guarantee for Kingfisher Company. I don’t know anything about this company,” an Indian Express report said quoting Singh.
Sardar Manmohan Singh, who has never boarded a flight in his life, was told in December last year that he was a ‘director’ of the now-defunct airlines, a Hindustan Times report said.
“I have heard his (Mallya’s) name but never met him. I have no idea how I was made the director of his company,” said Singh whose name, according to bank officials, appeared in the list of guarantors/directors of Kingfisher Airlines. The list contains nine names, including Vijay Mallya, his son Siddharth, and Singh.
However, Mange Ram, manager of Bank of Baroda’s Nand branch in Pilibhit, said, “We received a letter to seize his (Singh’s) account for recovery of the loan amount in December last year.” The letter was sent by the bank’s regional office at Nariman Point, Mumbai.
When asked about the credits Singh has taken from the bank, Ram said the former has taken a loan of Rs 5 lakh.
“Singh came here to deposit money and I told him that he can deposit money but can’t withdraw it,” he added.
The bank, however, has not clarified to him how his name came up in connection with Mallya in the first place.
On verifying his accounts, the local manager wrote back to the Mumbai branch, asking them for permission to de-freeze Singh’s accounts. Finally on Friday, the Mumbai branch responded positively, asking the Nandgaon branch to open Singh’s accounts, a Mid-Day report said.
It is not yet clear how the error occurred or whether the lapse will be probed. Securing loans using fake guarantors is not unheard of in smaller bank branches. Mallya has been on the run since March 2, when public sector lenders to whom he owed more than Rs 9,000 crore moved the Debt Recovery Tribunal against him.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is set to conduct a forensic audit of Mallya’s related companies’ accounts, to collect money trail details in connection with the Rs 6,963 crore borrowed by him and his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.