NEW DELHI: After 31 bank defaulters fled the country, causing huge embarrassment to the government, the finance ministry has prepared a list of 91 high profile defaulters to prevent them from leaving the country. Interestingly, the list includes Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, who are absconding.
“The government has asked banks to give a list of companies and individuals who have defaulted on loans. On that basis, it has prepared a list of 91 individuals, who are either the owner or top officials or on the boards of those companies. The purpose is to ensure that they do not leave country,” a senior finance ministry official said.
However, the official added that the list is not conclusive. “This is the primary list and it also has name of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi and his wife. The list will go under more scrutiny and we will add or delete names, if required. But mainly it will be of wilful defaulters,” the official added.
According to sources, the list will be shared with all authorities concerned, including the external affairs ministry, passport offices, police stations and airports.
This comes a few days after the government asked banks to ‘name and shame’ such borrowers by publishing their photographs and details in newspapers.
State-owned banks have reported wilful defaults of Rs 93,357 crore, involving 7,564 borrowers as of September 2017, as per the data with Credit Information Bureau of India Limited (CIBIL).
However, there was no initiation on the behalf of RBI to publish the names of the wilful defaulters. RBI had in 2017 informed the Supreme Court that it was not in favour of disclosing the names of loan defaulters as “the disclosure might involve the statutory, contractual and fiduciary rights of the defaulters”.
Till date, around 400 companies have been classified as wilful defaulters.
Keeping a tab through passports
Earlier, the government had asked banks to disclose the passport details of a larger group of individuals who have signed applications or stood as guarantors for soured credits of more than `50 crore.