IMPHAL | Apr 4
Indian National Congress (INC) outer candidate K James has refuted the allegations made by Punjab National Bank (PNB) that he is a defaulter of loans. He claimed that the allegations are baseless, and is an attempt to tarnish his image.
Speaking to this reporter, K James stated that the company M/s North East Region Finservices Limited (NEREFS) was opened on April 2, 2004 and have been providing microfinance services to public since then. However he is no longer the director of the company, he added.
It may be recalled that the circle head of Punjab National Bank, NE circle office, Guwahati in a letter addressed to chief election commissioner, Election Commission of India and copy to chief electoral officer, Manipur on March 28 had conveyed that K James, director of the said company is a defaulter of loan and had requested to take all necessary actions against the candidate.
It was brought to notice that the Punjab National Bank had sanctioned a cash credit loan of Rs 100 crore and a term loan of Rs 17 lakh in favour of NEREFS of which K James was a director and personal guarantor. But due to non-payment of dues, the account turned non-performing asset (NPA) on September 30, 2016 as per guidelines of Reserve Bank of India.
It was also learnt that total recoverable dues from the above mentioned defaulter is Rs 116.31 crore and interest thereof since the account turned NPA.
The letter drew attention of the chief electoral officer and election commission of India and demanded action against K James so that such defaulters of public money are deterred from contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in better interest of the country
However, James claimed that in due course of time when the company experienced financial crisis, it had borrowed money from different banks, which the company repaid on time.
He clarified that on December 30, 2007, the company got sanction of Rs 25 crore from PNB. The bank also increased the loan amount to Rs 50 crore in 2009 as they are satisfied with the performance of the company, which they increased to Rs 100 crore in 2010.
The company had been paying back on time whatever it had taken as loan, he said, adding the company had been running very successfully. “Unfortunately, in December, 2014 the company experienced a set back because of Saradha scam. The company had to shut down for more than three and half months in Assam”, James added.
He also recalled that in 2015 in Manipur, because of the uprising of the people to implement the ILP and economic blockade, the company was closed for more than four months.
Such factors have been preventing the loanees of the company to repay back their loan amount and the suffered and its business activities badly hampered, he added.
Moreover, with demonetisation in 2016, the beneficiaries of the microfinance company were unable to pay back the loans to the company and the company was not able to recover the loan amount, James continued.
“The company approached to the authority of PNB to reschedule the repayment by the company, which the bank consented to provide 15 months’ time. After the completion of 15 months’ time, the company again approached the bank to repay through one time settlement (OTS) as all the debts has not been cleared”, James maintained.
James further stated that in the meantime, his two years of tenure as the director completed. While maintaining that the board of directors approved his retirement from directorship in March 2019 though he still remains a member of the company, he pointed out that other directors had also taken charge and responsibility of the company and the debts as well.
The INC candidate noted that the company is still in the process of paying back the remaining payable amount. He continued that his immovable properties were mortgaged and pledged to the bank as collateral security of the said loan.
In addition to all the above, the OTS payment time is not yet expired. 18 months of time was approved by the bank on December 10, 2018 as per consent given to the proposal of the company, the time should expire in June, 2020. As such, there is no question of running away from non-payment of the loan, he clarified.
He also appealed to the people and his supporters not to take him wrongly as he is not a defaulter and has not done anything wrong as alleged by PNB.