Deccan Chronicle, Indu Projects among top 50 loan defaulters

Deccan Chronicle, Indu Projects among top 50 loan defaulters
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Deccan Chronicle, Indu Projects among top 50 loan defaulters
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ix companies from Hyderabad including trouble-hit media house Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited figured in the list of top 50 wilful loan defaulters notified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in a response to a query raised under RTI Act recently

Hyderabad: Six companies from Hyderabad including trouble-hit media house Deccan Chronicle Holdings Limited figured in the list of top 50 wilful loan defaulters notified by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in a response to a query raised under RTI Act recently.

Other companies from Hyderabad in the infamous list included Transstroy (India) Limited, Coastal Projects Limited, Indu Projects Limited, all infrastructure companies, VMC Systems and BS Limited, a listed company. Banks struck off loans worth Rs 7,566 crore availed by these companies and declared them wilful defaulters.

In a reply dated April 24, 2020 to a query raised by Saket Gokhale, an RTI activist, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) listed out top 50 wilful defaulters. The apex bank also gave the details of sum of funded advances and the amount that has been written off technically/prudentially.

Gokhale raised the query on February 19, 2020 under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Banks wrote off Rs 68,607 crore debt of these companies as on September 30, 2019. Gitanjali Gems Limited owned by fugitive diamantaire Mehul Choksi topped the list with its loan defaults amounting to Rs 5,492 crore.

Among Hyderabad-based companies, Deccan Chronicle Holding Limited (DCHL) which owns Deccan Chronicle and Andhra Bhoomi news dailies stood first with its loans worth Rs 1,915 crore getting written off.

It ranked 10th in the countrywide list. DCHL, who borrowed a whopping Rs 8,180 crore to various banks and financial institutions and defaulted on repayments, went through a corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) for over 18 months under the Hyderabad Bench of NCLT.

Kolkata-based Srei Multiple Asset Investments Trust's Vision India Fund bought DCHL for around Rs 400 crore last year, but is yet to take over the media house formally. The loans that banks wrote off are a part of the DCHL's total borrowings.

Another company Transstroy (India) Limited, which is also under insolvency process and has links to former MP Rayapati Sambasiva Rao, saw its loans worth Rs 1,790 crore struck off. It is at 12th place in the list.

An engineering and construction company, Transstroy executed a part of multipurpose Polavaram irrigation project currently under construction in Andhra Pradesh. CBI even carried out raids on the company and its promoters in a bank fraud case.

VMC Systems Limited, the third company from the city, is an original equipment manufacturer of telecommunications, network and power conversion products. Based in Madhapur in Hi-tech City, it defaulted on banks loans to the tune of Rs 1,331 crore. CBI book this company for bank fraud.

It stood at 16th place in the list. "VMC's strong focus on quality and operational excellence has enabled us to meet the stringent quality and reliability specifications of large PSU and MNCs as well as cater to large-volume requirements of consumer-electronics giants," the company's website says.

Banks also wrote off loans worth Rs 984 cr availed by Coastal Projects, an infrastructure company headed by S Surendra. Founded in 1995, the company claims to have executed several infrastructure projects related to underground excavations.

"The company's success is driven by building some of the most advanced facilities for our clients," the company says in its profile. Indu Projects Limited, an infrastructure company owned by Indukuri Syam Prasad Reddy, had its Rs 845 crore loans waived off.

Established in 2001, the company at one point had a turnover of over Rs 2,000 crore. It had presence in roads, buildings, irrigation projects, power, coal mining and solar energy, among others.

Sixth company from the city, BS Limited, formerly known as BS TransComm Ltd, executed several projects in power transmission and distribution space. Banks struck off loans of Rs 701 crore borrowed by the company.

Starting its journey in 2004 as power transmission tower manufacturer, the company led by Rajesh Agarwal diversified into turnkey projects, EPC, renewable energy and mineral Resources. The company got listed on stock markets in October 2010.

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