New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday hit back after former RBI governor said that a large number of bad loans had originated between 2006 and 2008 under the UPA government, saying that the Narendra Modi government should also be held accountable for the NPA mess.
Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said that when UPA had left office in 2014, total non-performing assets were Rs 2.83 lakh crore and this has jumped to Rs 12 lakh crore under the NDA rule.
“This government informed in Parliament that NPAs have gone up to Rs 10.3 lakh crore till March 2018 and it is now at Rs 12 lakh crore. So, simple mathematics tells us that Rs 9.17 lakh crore of NPAs were in 56 months of Modi government,” he said.
He added that even if what Rajan said about bad loans originating in 2006 was considered true, they still only were 2.83 lakh crore till UPA demitted office and this amount was manageable.
“Hold the UPA accountable for the Rs 2.83 lakh crore but will you hold PM Modi’s government responsible for the Rs 9.17 lakh crore?” he asked.
The Congress’ rebuttal came after Rajan told a parliamentary panel on Estimates in a note that over optimistic bankers and a slowdown in government decision making, which had popularly been dubbed as “policy paralysis” before the 2014 election were behind the mounting bad loan mess.
He further said in his note that “a variety of governance problems such as suspect allocation of coal mines coupled with the fear of investigation slowed down government decision making in Delhi, both in the UPA and the subsequent NDA governments". Project cost overruns escalated for stalled projects and they became increasingly unable to service debt, he added.
Reacting to Rajan's statement, union minister Smriti Irani on Tuesday said “UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi led a government that attacked the very core of the Indian banking system”.
The bad loan mess has often been the trigger of war of words between the BJP and the Congress and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has repeatedly called it UPA’s legacy. His government’s posturing on it, however, was punctured by the PNB scam that was discovered in January this year.
Surjewala, in his presser, also attacked the Centre for failing to nab PNB fraud accused Mehul Choksi, who on Tuesday released a video saying all charges against him were baseless. He also said that he can’t surrender as his passport has been suspended by Indian authorities.
The video was released from his hideout in Caribbean island Antigua, where he had taken citizenship last year. India has been trying to extradite him since April.
The Congress leader said Choksi had not fled India but was allowed to leave as the Modi government “was complicit” in the fraud. “PMO did not do anything despite having knowledge about Choksi and Nirav Modi, the other scam accused,” he said.