Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday insisted that beleaguered liquor baron Vijay Mallya was not given even ‘a rupee benefit’ under the Modi government.
Replying to a debate on Budget in the Lok Sabha, Jaitley said that loans were given to the businessman during the previous UPA rule through intervention of the North Block, a reference to the Finance Ministry.
He also took the opportunity to blame the previous UPA dispensation for the massive NPAs of the banks, saying lending of ‘indiscriminate’ loans to select people and industries during that period was the root cause of the problem.
"Aapke dwara kiye gaye karmon ka byaj hum de rahe hain (we are paying for your misdeeds)," he said.
In an obvious reference to Rahul Gandhi's allegations that the current government had given a benefit of Rs 1,200 crore to Vijay Mallya, Jaitley said that not ‘a rupee benefit’ was given to the businessman by any bank since the NDA came to power in May 26, 2014.
As per the official figure, gross NPAs of public sector banks rose to Rs 6,30,323 crore by September 2016.
"The percentage (of NPAs) has not been increased because we have started giving much higher unaccountable loans. Most of these are loans given during 2007-08-09 period when the boom period of the economy was there," he said.
"Your allegation is that your sins have not been corrected and reversed by us. This cannot be a charge on us," the Finance Minister added.
Jaitley said disproportionate loans were given by the UPA to certain industries and that they were not farmers.
Documents which have come out say that loans were given through intervention of the North Block and the concerned bank officials were having to pay for it now, he said, in an apparent reference to cases being filed against some bank officials in connection with Mallya case.
"These were not to small people. It was to big companies. It was your legacy, it was your contribution. Our misfortune is that every year the interest goes up and so it becomes 5.1 per cent from 4.1 per cent and then becomes 6.1," he said, adding the NDA was paying "interest" on UPA's work.
With PTI Inputs