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Rahul, Anurag Thakur lock horns over making list of top 50 defaulters public

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 16, 2020 Published on March 16, 2020

MoS Finance Anurag Thakur   -  PTI

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi   -  PTI

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi complained on Monday that Speaker Om Birla had refused him permission to ask a supplementary question on the largest 50 defaulters in the country. The BJP said the Nehru scion thinks he is above other Parliamentarians in stature and denied the allegation.

‘No response’

Talking to reporters after question hour in Parliament, Gandhi said it is a parliamentary procedure and a right of every single Member to ask supplementary questions. “Today I asked a question. The Minister did not respond to my question. My question was how many people, what are the 50 largest defaulters in India. The Minister did not answer my question and I was quite hurt because it is the duty of the Speaker to protect my right to speak and it was his duty to allow me to ask a supplementary question and I was not allowed to ask a supplementary question. This is taking away my right as a Member of Parliament and it is not fair. It is completely unfair,” he said.

He questioned the Centre’s “silence” on the defaulters. “Now the question arises why is the Government so scared of naming those 50 wilful defaulters. We know that the economy is not moving forward. 50 people have stolen Indian money, they are wilful defaulters. Prime Minister has said he is going to take action against these people. Why are they not putting the names on the table and I have been warning this country that the current situation of the banks, the current economic situation coupled with Corona virus is going to result in a disaster and I keep repeating it, I keep repeating it, I am sorry to say that actions like this do not help,” he said.

Junior Finance Minister Anurag Singh Thakur countered sarcastically that, “He (Rahul Gandhi) thought that Finance Minister Nirmala Sithraman will answer his questions. But he should remember that from day one during 17th Lok Sabha, I have been answering questions in both the houses. Some people do not recall that I am MoS Finance,” he said.

“Secondly when question hour was over, how can a member ask a supplementary? He wanted question hour to continue even after scheduled time. He took three minutes to ask question, but started arguing even before the answer. His intention was just creating ruckus as information are already in the public domain,” Thakur added.

‘In public domain’

According to Thakur, he asked about 50 wilful defaulters on the floor of the house, but when he came out from the house this number surged to 500. He should know that information about any wilful defaulter with loan of over ₹ 25 lakhs and facing suit, is available online in the public domain. With regards to defaulter-wise details of recovered loan amount, RBI has informed that information in this regard is not maintained by it.

Earlier Gandhi said in Lok Sabha that country’s economy is going through a difficult period. “Banking system is facing difficulties, banking is failing and many more banks are going to fail. One of the main reasons for the failure of banks is stealing of bank money by a large number of people. The Prime Minister had said those who have stolen the money will be brought back and punished. But I have not got the answer to my simple question,” he said.

Responding to the question, the junior Finance Minister said the Centre has reviewed the asset quality of banks and performance of banks has improved to a great extent due to various steps taken by the government. “The list of all bank defaulters above ₹25 lakh loans is available on the website of the Central Information Commission. I have the list and if the Chair allows me, I am ready to table it in the House,” he said.

Published on March 16, 2020
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