Nitin​ Gadkari on 'Mallyaji': Unfair to call a one-time loan defaulter a 'chor'

Gadkari, however, clarified that he has no business dealing with Mallya, who faces extradition from the UK for alleged bank fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crore.

Published: 13th December 2018 11:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th December 2018 11:10 PM   |  A+A-

Nitin Gadkari

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari (File | PTI)

By PTI

MUMBAI: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari Thursday opined that it is unfair to tag a "one-time loan defaulter Vijay Mallyaji" as a "chor" (thief), adding that the embattled businessman has a four-decade-long track record of timely debt servicing.

Gadkari, however, clarified that he has no business dealing with Mallya, who faces extradition from the UK for alleged bank fraud and money laundering amounting to an estimated Rs 9,000 crore.

"40 saal Mallya regular payment kar raha tha, byaaj bhar raha tha. 40 saal baad jab wo aviation mein gaya uske baad wo adchan mein aaya to woh ekdum chor ho gaya?. jo pachaas saal byaaj bharta hai wo theek hai, par ek baar wo default ho gaya. toh turant sab fraud ho gaya? Ye mansikta theek nahi hai." (For 40 years Mallya was regularly paying interest on loans. After entering the aviation sector, he started facing problems, and suddenly he became a thief? If a person repays the interest for 50 years, and if he defaults once, then suddenly everything is fraud? This mindset is not correct), Gadkari said at an economic summit organised by the Times Group.

ALSO READ | 'No ground at all' to believe Vijay Mallya faces any risk in Mumbai jail, says UK court

Gadkari said the loan he was referring to was from the Maharashtra government-owned entity Sicom to Mallya, extended 40 years ago, which he repaid on time without any default.

Stating that ups and downs are part and parcel of any business, the road transport minister said if someone goes through a downward cycle, then he or she has to be supported.

"There are risks in the business, be it banking or insurance, there are ups and downs. But, if the mistakes are bona fide, because of global or internal factors in the economy like a recession, then that person who is facing difficulties must be given support," the minister said.

ALSO READ | An offender who benefited during UPA, brought to book by NDA: Jaitley on Mallya extradition

Likening an election loss to a business failure, he recalled how he lost an election when he was all of 26, but underlined that the loss did not mean that his political career ended.

"If Nirav Modi or Vijay Mallyaji has committed (financial) fraud then send them to jail, but whoever comes in distress, and if we label them as fraudster then our economy will not progress," he said.

Earlier this week, a London court had ordered Mallya's extradition, in a major boost to the government's efforts to bring back the fugitive businessman.

Ahead of the extradition hearing, the 62-year-old former boss of the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines offered to repay the entire principal amount to banks.

Gadkari has for long been calling for a more considerate and realistic approach to NPAs, and indirectly blamed the bankers for the NPA mess, saying our banking system is such that it does not support sick companies.

"When someone is serious then we put him/her in an ICU, but our banking system first puts a sick company in the ICU and then ensures that it dies," he quipped.

Last month, Gadkari had blamed the RBI for "complicating" project finance, saying over 150 projects involving over Rs 2 trillion investments are struggling to get financial closure.

"Unfortunately, many times the circulars issued by the RBI are creating more complications and this is one of the reasons why I am facing problems as far as financial closure is concerned," Gadkari had said.

Stay up to date on all the latest Nation news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp