Airport authorities on Sunday detained debt-ridden Hanung Toys promoter Ashok Kumar Bansal and his wife Anju Bansal following lookout circular (LOC) issued by Punjab National Bank (PNB). Hanung Toys and Textile Ltd owes Rs 2,300 crore from a consortium of 15 lenders led by state-owned PNB, which alone has exposure of Rs 599 crore.
PNB issued 13 LOCs including one against the promoter of Hanung Toys on Saturday, sources said.
Acting on the LOC, airport authorities detained the Bansals while they were coming from Dubai on Sunday morning, sources said.
Several banks of the consortium have already declared the company a wilful defaulter.
In a bid to prevent big economic offenders from fleeing the country, the government late last year empowered public sector banks (PSBs) to request lookout circulars (LOCs) against wilful defaulters and fraudsters.
The finance ministry had issued a circular authorising chairman-cum-managing directors or chief executive officers of public sector banks to request designated authorities to issue LOCs against any wilful defaulter or fraudster if they think the person may flee the country.
The CMDs and CEOs of PSBs can now ask the Home Ministry, Ministry of External Affairs, Customs and Income Tax Departments, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBI, regional passport officers and police to issue an LOC to alert immigration check posts to stop anyone leaving India.
Earlier, investigating agencies would request LOCs in cognisable offences under the Indian Penal Code or other laws in case the accused evaded arrest or did not appear before court despite issuance of non-bailable warrants and other coercive measures and there was a likelihood of the accused leaving the country to escape arrest.
An LOC is valid for a year unless its duration is specified.
A corporate debt restructuring plan crafted four years ago failed to take off as Ashok Bansal, chairman and managing director of the company, could not bring in his share of equity at Rs 82 crore. That led to an increase in outstanding dues to Rs 2,300 crore.
The bank has taken several steps to improve its recovery. Cash recovery of the bank stood at Rs 2,305 crore during the quarter ended June 2019.
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