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RBI says it has no information on loans of top 100 defaulters written off by banks.

Date: 23-09-2020
Subject: RBI says it has no information on loans of top 100 defaulters written off by banks
Kolkata: The Reserve Bank of India said it has no information about loans of the top 100 defaulters that banks had written off, just over four months after it had put the total write-off of the largest 50 wilful defaulters at Rs 68,600 crore.

“The information sought is not available with us,” the central bank said in a recent response to an RTI petition by a Kolkata-based activist, who had sought details on the loans that had been written off, along with the amount that each of the 100 defaulters had owed to banks and the period when the loans to them had been sanctioned and disbursed.

“No defaulter information is collected as such by us,” the RBI said, in response to another query on the list of top 100 defaulters and wilful defaulters.

The central bank responded to the RTI petition on August 31. ET has seen a copy of the RBI response.

The petitioner, Biswanath Goswami, said he had filed two petitions since April seeking details on wilful defaulters and the RBI refused to share any details both the times. “There may be political play behind this,” he alleged.

The central bank had in April said Indian banks had written off Rs 68,600 crore loans of the top 50 wilful defaulters, in its response to another RTI petition. The opposition created a stir on the matter, compelling the government to react.

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman then stated that outstanding debt was written off as per RBI rules of a four-year provisioning cycle for non-performing assets, as reported by ET.

Write-off is a technical process by which banks clean their bad loans from their balance sheets. But they can still recover the loans.

“The words “write-off” and “waive off” are not specifically defined in RBI guidelines,” the RBI said in its August 31 response to another query by Goswami.

“The applicant is advised that any expression unless defined in the RBI circular has the same meaning as has been assigned to them under the Banking Regulation Act or the Reserve Bank of Bank of India Act or any statutory modification or re-enactment thereto or as used in commercial parlance, as the case may be,” the central bank said.


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