Acting Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said that after demonetisation, a lot of data could be mined on directors, offices and hidden incomes.
In the largest ever investigation carried out by any electronic media, News X undertook a 100-day probe into Non-Performing Assets (NPAs). The investigation revealed that the recovery rate of NPAs was only 6.8% with the total value of property auction being Rs 627 crore in contrast to the total value of NPAs which stood at Rs 9,220 crore. The average projected time to conclude NPA cases was 34 years.
At the 100-day celebration conclave of the NewsX investigation, Union Railways and Coal Minister Piyush Goyal, who is also holding the finance portfolio for a brief period, commended the investigation and, reflecting on the NPA cases, said, “NPAs were never recognised as a problem during the UPA’s rule. After the demonetisation exercise, a lot of data could be mined on directors, offices and hidden income, but more than that it recognised the people and the whole ecosystem.”
In order to improve circumstances, Goyal said, “Our government intends to change the mindset of the people towards bank and non-repayment of loans. Genuine business failures will be recognised early on and we intent to help them survive if possible. We understand that small-scale businesses are low on resources which is why they need hand-holding and government intends to help them as well.”
At the event, Suresh Prabhu, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, said that NPAs have become a big problem in India, but the public sector is not a concern as far as NPA is concerned.
“Management is important, not ownership when it comes to NPA. The government is also looking at changing the appointment methods in banks which is to be made more transparent and merit-based appointment of directors are also being looked into. Along with this, the position of MD and CMD has been made separate posts to ensure more transparency and accountability,” Prabhu said. He also said that the government is working towards building a mechanism and promoting a policy to mitigate risks of companies through market-based mechanism.
Some key findings of the investigation revealed that among the companies where directors took multiple loans, 46 were repeat offenders, while only three were not. In 63% of the cases, directors were accused of forgery. Only 10% companies were found on their registered address, whereas 90% either did not exist or had been shut down. In only 27% of the cases, the CBI was investigating, whereas the status of 73% cases remained unknown. Among the cases in which CBI investigation was ongoing, only five directors were arrested out of 13, while out of those five directors, three were granted bail.
A total of 49 cases were probed across seven cities and the total value of cases stood at Rs 9,220 crore. Cases were picked at random from files of 10 states.
The Registrar of Companies’ data and Index of charges was compared vis-à-vis NewsX NPAs’ list. Various NewsX reporters conducted site visits to the registered address of the firm being probed. The channel sent out emails on registered email IDs of the companies probed and gave them 48 hours to reply. During the investigation, the status of the various companies was also checked with the CBI as well as the Enforcement Directorate.