AIBEA wants defaulters to be barred from polls

 Union Textile Minister K Sambasiva Rao and Rajya Sabha MP & chairman of beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines Vijay Mallya may be declared ineligible to contest polls if the Election Commission (EC) decides to keep away bank loan defaulters.

In a letter dated March 15 to Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath, the All India Banking Employees Association (AIBEA) general secretary C H Venkatachalam has enclosed the names of 50 prominent bank defaulters and also urged the commission to disqualify wilful defaulters holding high positions from contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha polls. “This provision should be in addition to the other existing disqualifications as provided under the Constitution and the Representation of People Act, 1951,” the letter stated. The AIBEA is yet to hear from the commission, Venkatachalam told Deccan Herald.

While the Union minister owes banks Rs 351 crore, Mallya has not paid the lenders a whopping Rs 6,000 crore. The other defaulters are Padma Sri awardee Deepak Puri, chairman and managing director of Moser Baer India Ltd, and Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Ltd chairman Raghavendra Rao.

Rao owes Rs 938 crore to banks, while Puri has defaulted to the tune of Rs 581 crore.
Incidentally, the World Bank last year debarred Progressive Constructions Ltd, founded by Rao, for a minimum of 11 years for violating the bank’s “fraud and corruption policy”.

“What is disturbing is that amounts involved in wilful default of bank loans are also increasing. Some of these defaulters are holding high positions,” the AIBEA letter said.  The non-performing assets of public sector banks have increased four-fold in the past five years. The bad loans stood at Rs 1,64,461 crore at the end of March 2013 from Rs 39,030 crore in 2008.

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