Reaffirming the efforts of the State Bank of India (SBI) to recover dues from Vijay Mallya-promoted Kingfisher Airlines, SBI Chairperson Arundhati Bhattacharya on Saturday said the process faces certain legal challenges.
“Kingfisher is currently a non-operative account and we don’t want to discuss individual accounts. Whatever are the steps necessary for recovery, they are going on, but there are some steps that will take time because there is a legal system to negotiate with, and obviously there are legal challenges. So we are looking at that,” she told reporters here.
With dues running into over Rs 7,500 crore in principal alone from Kingfisher, SBI has been leading a 17-member consortium of lenders trying to recover their dues.
The public sector banking behemoth has the maximum exposure of Rs 1,600 crore to the airline, which has been grounded since October 2012.
Asked about how much the bank has recovered from the sale of airline shares, Bhattacharya said, “Nothing very much. I think the recovery is in the range of Rs 350-Rs 400 crore.” Exuding confidence on further recoveries, she said, "I have fully provided (for this) from our profits."
SBI Capital Markets Ltd has been tasked by the consortium of lenders to recover their dues. Punjab National Bank and IDBI Bank each have an exposure of Rs 800 crore each to Kingfisher, Bank of India has Rs 650 crore and Bank of Baroda Rs 550 crore.
Other lenders are United Bank of India (Rs 430 crore), Central Bank of India (Rs 410 crore), Uco Bank (Rs 320 crore), Corporation Bank (Rs 310 crore), State Bank of Mysore, (Rs 150 crore), Indian Overseas Bank (Rs 140 crore), Federal Bank (Rs 90 crore), Punjab & Sind Bank (Rs 60 crore) and Axis Bank (Rs 50 crore).
On the financial inclusion front, Bhattacharya said SBI plans to expand its operations in rural areas. The hub-and-spoke system availing business correspondents would provide greater reach of services in the villages.
“SBI has 90,000 business correspondents now who reach out to villages with mini-ATMs, accepting deposits, recovering loans and providing withdrawal facilities. More such banking services will be added in the coming days,” she said.
DHNS & Agencies