The finance ministry informed the Central Information Commission (CIC) that it does not have any information of Vijay Mallya’s loans.
CIC was set up under the Right to Information Act in 2005. The body whose jurisdiction extends over all Commission Central Public Authorities said that the ministry’s response was “vague and not sustainable as per law,” reported NDTV.
The finance ministry’s reply was to an RTI application filed by one Rajiv Kumar Khare. Failing to get a reply from the ministry, he approached the CIC.
Under the RTI Act, “information” means any record which is held by or under the control of a public authority.
Khare was earlier told by the finance ministry that information of Mallya’s loans could not be given due to the exemption clauses in the Act related to personal safety and prejudicial economic interest of the State.
Chief Information Commissioner RK Mathur told the finance ministry official that his plea should be transferred to the proper public authority.
Reports suggest that a finance ministry official may have claimed of not having any information on the loans sanctioned by different banks to Mallya or the details of the guarantee given by the business tycoon against these loans. However, the ministry had responded to questions in this regard in the Parliament in the past.
On March 17, 2017, Union Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar, responding to a question on Mallya, said that the person, whose name was mentioned (Mallya), was given a loan in September 2004 and that it was reviewed in February 2008.
He added that the Rs 8,040 crore loan was declared a non-performing asset (NPA) in 2009, which was, in turn, restructured in 2010.
“As reported by PSBs, an amount of Rs 155 crore has been recovered by conducting a mega online auction by selling from the seized properties from defaulting loan borrower Vijay Mallya,” Gangwar had told the Rajya Sabha on March 21.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had called Mallya’s loan issues a “terrible legacy” that the NDA government had inherited from the previous UPA regime. The statement was made during a debate on demonetisation in the Upper House on November 17, 2016.