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Congress flays Modi government over Force India F1 racing team ​ sale, IL&FS crisis

Addressing a press conference here, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Indian banks, to whom Mallya owes money, lost out in the sale of Force India team.

Published: 01st October 2018 11:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st October 2018 11:32 PM   |  A+A-

Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala (File | PTI)

By PTI

NAGPUR: The Congress Monday cornered the Modi government over the sale of businessman Vijay Mallya's Force India Formula One racing team and the alleged financial support of LIC to debt-ridden infra lender IL&FS.

The main opposition party also said "Modinomics" (economic policies of the BJP-led government) has become a symbol of "looting money and writing off debts of "crony capitalists".

Addressing a press conference here, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said Indian banks, to whom Mallya owes money, lost out in the sale of Force India team.

"Today what has happened that one of the companies (Force One) of Vijay Mallya that was sold and it (detail) is in now in public domain. A person who wanted to pay 40 million pounds, that is Rs 380 crore extra, was not taken by (Indian) banks. Why? I ask the same question if somebody was ready to pay Rs 380 crore extra why was that money denied to our 13 banks and the people of India?" Surjewala asked.

The Congress leader's statement came amid reports that one of the main bidders, keen to acquire Force India after it went into administration, has claimed that a consortium of 13 Indian banks lost out on estimated 40 million pounds as a result of an "unfair" sales process concluded last month.

Russian fertiliser group Uralkali said that by turning down its higher bid for the company, the administrators had denied the extra funds that would have accrued to the shareholder of Force India.

It had been made clear to Uralkali that the administrator and team's engine partner Mercedes would not accept any deal in which either Mallya or Sahara had any "share or interest or participation," said Paul James Ostling, Senior Independent Director of Uralkali, who led the firm's offer for Force India.

Uralkali has been a partner of Force India.

Surjewala alleged the escape story of Mallya, currently in Britain, was "crafted and drafted" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.

The embattled businessman met the finance minister of the country before absconding with Rs 9,000 crore of 13 banks, the Congress leader alleged.

He said an RBI report has established what the Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been saying for long - that between April 2014 and April 2018, state-owned banks wrote off Rs 3,17,000 crore of loans.

On the other hand, their recovery was only about Rs 40,000-odd crore, the Congress leader said.

"This is called Modinomics, selling family silver to help his crony capitalist friends," Surjewala said.

Modinomics has become a symbol of looting money and writing off debts of crony capitalists friends, he said in an attack on the prime minister.

"No wonder the NPAs have jumped from Rs 2,63,000 crore when we demitted the office in May 2014 to nearly Rs 12 lakh crore now," said Surjewala.

Replying to a question on Gandhi's tweet on putting LIC's money into IL&FS, Surjewala said the company is 60 per cent privately owned.

The debt of IL&FS was Rs 30,000 crore when the Congress demitted office in 2014 and now this figure has gone up to Rs 91,000 crore, he said.

"It has 282 subsidiaries and all the money pumped into it is the money of the Government of India and the people," he said .

"The question is some private company which is foreign entity is drowning and why the money of 15 crore LIC policy holders and depositors of SBI (which has stake in IL&FS) is given to such a company which is drowning. Is this not a scam ?," Surjewala asked.



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