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38 economic offenders fled India in last 5 years

Central Bureau of Investigation has said 38 people involved in financial irregularities with banks fled from India between January 1, 2015, and December 12, 2019, Anurag Thakur said

India's biggest 2,426 wilful defaulters owe the banks an astounding Rs 1.47 lakh crore, according to AIBEA India's biggest 2,426 wilful defaulters owe the banks an astounding Rs 1.47 lakh crore, according to AIBEA

A total of 38 economic offenders, including Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi fled the country in the last five years, parliament was informed on Monday. Minister of State for Finance Anurag Thakur responded to a query by lawmaker Dean Kuriakose on whether the government has any data on businessmen who migrated to other countries after obtaining loans fraudulently in the last 5 years.

To which Thakur responded saying that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has said 38 people involved in financial irregularities with banks fled from India between January 1, 2015, and December 12, 2019.

Interpol has been approached to issue red corner notices (RCNs) against 20 persons out of these 38, Thakur said in a written reply in Lok Sabha.

He added that extradition requests were sent in respect of 14 people to various countries while applications under Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 have been filed against 11 people.

However, Thakur did not give the quantum of the fraud committed by these fugitives.

He further informed the members of the Lok Sabha that the government has implemented a slew of policies for preventing businessmen and individuals from fraudulently obtaining loans and fleeing the country.

The government, he said, has also advised the public sector banks to obtain a certified copy of the passport of promoters/directors and other authorised signatories of companies availing loan facilities of more than Rs 50 crore.

Besides, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) has barred companies with wilful defaulters as promoters/directors from accessing capital markets to raise funds under the Substantial Acquisition of Shares and Takeovers (Second Amendment) Regulations, 2016.

Additionally, last year the government said that the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 debarred wilful defaulters from participating in the insolvency resolution process.

Heads of PSBs were also empowered to request for issue of Look Out Circulars (LOCs) for wilful defaulters.

Last month, the All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) released a report in which it stated that India's biggest 2,426 wilful defaulters owe the banks an astounding Rs 1.47 lakh crore.

Mehul Choksi's Gitanjali Gems has the biggest single loan default of Rs 4,644 crore to Punjab National Bank, part of a bank fraud that shook the Indian banking sector in 2018. Jatin Mehta's Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery owes Rs 1,390 crore to Central Bank of India, Rs 984 crore to Punjab National Bank, and Rs 636 crore to Canara Bank. ABG Shipyard owes Rs 1,875 crore to SBI, Ruchi Soya Industries owes Rs 1,618 crore to SBI, and Kingfisher Airlines owes Rs 586 crore to SBI.

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