New Delhi: With banks having rejected a Rs 4,000 crore offer made by businessman Vijay Mallya to settle dues of over Rs 9,000 crore, industry body Assocham has asked them to be open to negotiations and cut losses.
In an apparent support to Mr Mallya’s offer, the industry body said the offer conveys his “intention to repay the loans”, and asked banks to ignore the “public discourse against the purported wilful defaulters”, and not be influenced by media reports.
Mr Mallya’s settlement offer has already been rejected by banks, who want something concrete on the table, while he has failed to appear before various investigative agencies like Enforcement Directorate and Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) despite repeated summons issued in connection with probe into alleged irregularities at his group.
“The banks must evaluate with open mind what offer is on the table. Even if Rs 4,000 crore, as reported in the media, needs to be revised, the banks should be open to negotiations irrespective of the fact whether the borrower is sitting in Delhi or Dubai, Mumbai or London… Get your money back and cut your losses, if they occur,” Assocham said.
Mr Mallya is reported to be in the UK after he left India on March 2.
“With so much shrill on the wilful defaulters, the banks and their principal shareholder, the Government of India, should take a dispassionate view of the case rather than being influenced by the media reports which at times get exaggerated in the ‘right-or-wrong’ debate,” Assocham said in a statement.
It said the main concerns for the bank’s consortium should be recovery of its assets which have become NPAs (non-performing assets) and all genuine efforts must be made towards that end.
In the present situation, the difficult times have to be faced by all the stakeholders- industry (borrowers) and the banks, it added.
In the case of Kingfisher Airlines and Mallya, Assocham said it does not want to sit in judgment, but what it certainly wants is “let there not be a media and public trial as such a thing is not good for the industry, banks or even the country’s financial system”.
A consortium of banks led by State Bank of India earlier this week rejected the proposal in its current form offered by Mr Mallya and his companies to pay Rs 4,000 crore by September towards settlement of his loan before the Supreme Court.
The consortium had also asked the Supreme Court that directions be passed to ensure the presence of Mr Mallya in the country to show that he was serious about settling the dues.