New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday declined specific comment if his government considered industrialist Vijay Mallya an absconder but sought to assure that every penny that is due from him to state-run banks will be recovered.
Answering a specific question at the India Today Conclave on Mallya, who is said to owe Rs.9,000 crore to 17 banks, most of them in the state sector, the finance minister said every agency in India, be it for enforcement or investigation, was on the job regarding the case.
"The facts are very clear: Every government agency will take strong action against him. Banks will go all out to recover every single penny," he said about Mallya who left the country earlier this month amid charges of wilful default on bank loans worth thousands of crores.
The finance minister said the bank loan defaulters who had "misconducted themselves", without providing "adequate sureties" are a source of worry "because there are moral and ethical issues without legal liability"
"The kind of example (Mallya) has brought a huge bad name to both to India's banking as also to India's private sector. It's dangerous for the future if we are not able to remedy this," he said.
He also said the immediate job of the government was to strengthen the public sector banks.
"So I am trying to recapitalise banks," he said.
Even as Jaitley was speaking, a consortium led by the State Bank of India was preparing for the auction of Mallya's Kingfisher House at Jogeshwari in Mumbai, in a bid to recover a part of the nearly Rs.7,000 crore debt due from the now grounded Kingfisher Airlines alone.