Voice from the Rooftop

Blog of Vincent Augustine D'Souza

Tag: crore rupees

Kingfisher Airlines and loan

Vijay Mallya is known as king of good times. He owns an IPL team. He owns a Formula One team. He constructs a multi-storeyed building beside a road named after his father. He hires models and has photoshoots outside India for his calendar. For all that he has money. He has no money to pay loan taken by Kingfisher Airlines which he owns. The airline has a loan of 6,000 crore rupees and he wants government to bail him out. Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi is ready to help him. Vayalar Ravi said “The aviation industry is facing crisis. These carriers may be privately owned but are Indian carriers, and the ministry will have to watch out for them.”

Kingfisher Airlines had defaulted on payment of oil bills. Some flights were cancelled and the airline was put on cash-and-carry system.

This is not the first time Vijay Mallya has approached the government for a bail out. Previously Kingfisher Airlines had a debt of over 7,000 crore rupees and State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, ICICI Bank, IDBI Bank and some other banks converted part of loan into shares at Rs.64.48 when the market price was around Rs.48. On remaining loan interest was lowered to 11% and repayment period was extended to nine years.

Public sector banks are the property of the people of India. They are not the property of the government. Ministers should know that. For too long there has been privatization of profits and nationalization of losses. Companies that make losses should be allowed to shutdown or go bankrupt. Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction should be wound up. Robbing the poor to pay the rich should stop. Vijay Mallya should pay the loan as per the terms agreed for borrowing. There should be no interest reduction or extension of payment period or conversion of loan into shares. Credit rating agencies have brought down the rating of State Bank of India. Vijay Mallya can pay from United Breweries or other companies. He can sell aeroplanes he owns. He can continue to be king of good times but not at the expense of India’s taxpayers.

Kingfisher Airlines said they had not requested for restructuring of second debt? Did they ask for loan write-off or conversion of loan into shares?

Vayalar Ravi should concentrate on Air India which has become a black hole gobbling up money. It has loans amounting to 40,000 crore rupees and there is no sign of improvement. Pilots and other frequently go on strike. No more loan should be given to Air India and if employees do not behave the airline should be shutdown. It is for the aviation industry to face the crisis and the ministry does not have to watch out for private Indian airlines.

India needs a movement stronger than Occupy Wall Street. Protesters should occupy offices of ministers, corporates and banks against such practices.

CAG and 2G

There is an attempt to discredit CAG Vinod Rai and question his credibility. CAG had put the loss due to 2G scam at 1,76,379 crore rupees. Some have got hold of a report of an official, R. P. Singh, Director General of Audit (Post & Telecommunications) who had put the loss at 2,645 crore rupees. R. P. Singh had corresponded with Department of Telecommunications. On 23/10/2011 CAG had commented on the file “I wish we had not written to DoT.” Deputy CAG Rekha Gupta had commented “Please convey CAG’s observations to DG (Singh). Also please reiterate that he is not to write to Secretary DoT on this or any other issue for the present.”

Congress has problem with leakage of CAG report but has no problems when leakages suit it. Being selective does not help. When the 2G scam became public TV channels had put the loss at 60,000 crores rupees. CBI’s estimate of loss is around 30,000 crore rupees. CBI is controlled by government. If Supreme Court had not monitored the case CBI would have said there was no loss as Kapil Sibal had said.

CAG is a constitutional authority. He is not a servant of the government of the day. If he finds any subordinate not doing his job properly he has the right to overrule him. In judiciary there are various courts but the decision of the Supreme Court is final. It can overrule High Court or other courts. High Court can overrule Sessions Court. In Supreme Court judges on the same bench disagree and judgments are by majority. There is nothing strange about CAG overruling DG.

Black money in Swiss banks

Wikileaks has made public the names of Indians who have black money in Swiss banks and LGT Bank, Liechtenstein. There are main accounts and sub accounts. Nira Radia has 289990 crore rupees. If she is not an Indian citizen she cannot be prosecuted.

Some account holders are businessmen. Naresh Goyal, Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh are mentioned. Politicians include Rajiv Gandhi (19800 crore rupees), Sharad Pawar, Karunanidhi, Stalin, Chidambaram, A. Raja, Suresh Kalmadi, Laloo Prasad Yadav, H. D. Kumaraswamy and Jyotiraditya Scindia. Rajiv Gandhi died in 1991. Who operated his accounts after that is not mentioned.

TV channels did not report the event. The channels had devoted lot of time for diplomatic cables. Even if they gave prominence to Anna Hazare’s fast for Lokpal Bill it defies comprehension that they did not even mention about account holders. Some months back Times Now was eager to reveal the names when they became public but was quiet when names became known. May be the owners of TV channels have black money in Swiss banks. May be politicians and businessmen have used all means to silence the media.

As per The Sunday Express report dt. 7/8/2011 France had given to India list of 700 HSBC accounts in Geneva, Switzerland. Names of account holders have not been made public.

By this time all money could have disappeared from those accounts and moved to other places like Cayman Islands, Mauritius and Singapore. Rudolf Elmer had given the names to Julian Assange in January 2011. Switzerland will not give details of past accounts.

Since the account holders are in power or have access to people in power it is tough to prosecute them. It will be possible to prosecute them once they are out of power or have no access to people in power.

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