Mumbai: Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday said the ABG Shipyard account had turned into a non-performing asset (NPA) in November 2013 during the erstwhile UPA regime and that the debt was restructured in March 2014 by all lenders but it could not be rescued.
She defended the five years taken to file the first fraud complaint in the Rs 22,842 crore loan default by ABG Shipyard, saying the time taken (in this case) to detect the fraud was less than normal. “The noises that are coming that ‘Oh, this is the biggest ghotala in Prime Minister’s time. Not at all, this was a loan given well prior to 2013, it has even become an NPA by 2013. So now in Hindi, you say that apne pair pe kulhaadi (maarna) (to cut your own leg), that is exactly what is happening here,” she said in response to a query at a press conference after the customary post-budget address to the RBI board members.
The CBI has registered a case against Gujarat- based ABG Shipyard and its directors for allegedly cheating 28 banks of Rs 22,842 crore, in the biggest bank fraud taken up by the agency. The finance minister said while it takes 52 months to 56 months to detect such frauds, less time was taken to detect it and take action under the present government.
Speaking at the briefing, RBI governor Shaktikanta Das said, the “momentum of inflation is on a downward slope" and the central bank would continue to strike a delicate balance between the need to contain price rise and ensure economic growth. “It's primarily the statistical reasons, the base effect which is leading to higher inflation, especially in the third quarter, and the same base effect will play in different ways in the coming months,” Das said.
With regard to global spillovers, Das said “continuously we monitor the global developments and we are prepared to deal with global spillovers.
He also said there won't be any tantrums this time as the US Fed is fully conscious of what happened in 2013.