As the BJP latched on to former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan's note to a parliamentary panel, in which he has stated that a large number of bad loans originated during the UPA rule in 2006-08, to attack the Congress, the principal opposition party hit back by claiming that the Non Performing Assets (NPAs) of banks have increased by over nine lakh crore under the Narendra Modi regime.
Claiming that these were figures presented by the NDA government in Parliament, AICC Communications Department head Randeep Surjewala said on Monday that the NPAs had increased from Rs 2.83 lakh crore at the end of UPA-II in 2014 to 12 lakh crore today.
“I agree that the Congress government was responsible for the Rs 2.83 lakh crore NPAs in 2014. For the 9.17 lakh crore NPAs, will the Modi government take responsibility?,” he asked.
Earlier in the day, Union minister Smriti Irani attacked the Congress for creating an NPA problem in the country. “The Congress was exposed yesterday. Raghuram Rajan's statement clearly proves that it is the Congress which is responsible for increased NPAs,” Irani said, referring to Rajan's report, at a press conference at the BJP headquarters.
She accused the Gandhi family of trying to enter fraudulent transactions. “Rahul, Priyanka Vadra and Sonia Gandhi wanted to sabotage the tax payer's money,” she said.
Meanwhile, responding to the BJP's charge that there was a 'phone a loan' system prevalent during the UPA years, Surjewala said the Modi government has devised a new formula called “wink a loan scam”. “The prime minister winks and loans are granted to his crony capitalists,” he said.
The Congress also hit back at the BJP by quoting from Rajan's book to state that the former RBI governor had in 2016 sent to the Prime Minister's Office a list of high-profile names who had defrauded banks of huge sums of money, but there was no information on any action taken. “Raghuram Rajan has also indicted the Prime Minister's Office on the frauds being committed,” he said.
Rajan has, in a note to the chairman of Estimates Committee Murli Manohar Joshi, said that a large number of bad loans originated during 2006-08, when economic growth was strong, and previous infrastructure projects such as power plants had been completed on time and within budget.