‘Ten biggest wilful defaulters owe ₹40,825 cr. to banks’

10 persons declared fugitive economic offenders so far; nine applications from the Enforcement Directorate still pending with courts

August 01, 2023 09:28 pm | Updated 09:28 pm IST - NEW DELHI 

India’s top 50 wilful defaulters owed banks as much as ₹87,295 crore as of March 31 this year, with the largest such borrower viz. Gitanjali Gems Ltd., owned by Mehul Choksi, uncle of fugitive economic offender Nirav Modi, accounting for more than 10% of the outstanding dues, the Finance Ministry informed Parliament on Tuesday. 

Noting that scheduled commercial banks had written off ₹10.57 lakh crore in the last five years as per provisional data from the central bank, the Ministry shared the list of top ten wilful defaulters in the country, that cumulatively owed ₹40,825 crore to banks. 

Apart from Gitanjali Gems, whose owner Mr. Choksi is yet to be declared a fugitive economic offender (FEO), the other wilful defaulters in the list include Era Infra Engineering (₹5,750 crore), REI Agro (₹5,148 crore), ABG Shipyard (₹4,774 crore) and Concast Steel and Power (₹3,911 crore).      

Responding to another query posed by MP Randeep Singh Surjewala about people booked under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act (FEOA) of 2018, Minister of State for Finance Pankaj Chaudhary said that the Enforcement Directorate has filed applications against 19 persons, of which only 10 persons have been declared FEOs by competent courts. 

The amount of fraud involved in those 10 persons’ cases, which include Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Hitesh Kumar Narendrabhai Patel, Junaid Iqbal Memon, Hajra Iqbal Memon, Asif Iqbal Memon and Ramachandran Vishwanathan, is over ₹40,000 crore. Four of these ten fugitive economic offenders have been deported or extradited to India so far. 

“As on date, assets amounting to ₹15,113.02 crore have been confiscated under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act and restituted to public sector banks. Furthermore, assets amounting to ₹873.75 crore have also been confiscated under FEOA in respect of the said FEOs,” Mr. Chaudhary said. 

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