India loves conspiracy theories: Arun Jaitley on rift with RBI

  • Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 23, 2016 01:37 IST
The Finance minister denied any rift with the RBI and attributed the reports to “our national love for conspiracy theories”. (PTI Photo)

Finance minister Arun Jaitley denied any rift with the Reserve Bank of India and attributed the reports about his officials not being on the same page with their Mint Road counterparts as a result of “our national love for conspiracy theories”.

Stating that he has “a good professional relation” with RBI governor Raghuram Rajan, Jaitley said late on Monday, “I think India by and large loves conspiracy theories.”

“I think whether it is North Block or whether it is the Mint Street, these are responsible institutions. There are a lot of people who are level-headed and who work with a sense of propriety because their priorities are clear,” the minister told Shekhar Gupta, former editor of the Indian Express, and TV journalist Barkha Dutt, who launched their media start-up ThePrint at the event.

Jaitley, however, parried a question on whether Rajan will get a second stint at RBI after he completes the term on September 3, saying “it is not proper to comment on it”.

The finance minister also said the behaviour of liquor baron Vijay Mallya, the chairman of grounded Kingfisher Airlines , has brought the private sector entrepreneurs in India a “terrible name.” Kingfisher Airlines owes over Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of 17 banks.

Jaitley also said Mallya cannot be ignorant about what happens to banks because of his default as there are other heavily-indebted companies which are settling their dues by selling their assets, but not Mallya.

“The sooner he settles his dues to the banks the better it is for the private sector,” Jaitley said, adding that “In a business failure, the whole sector suffers. In the same aviation sector, people who are in competition with him are surviving and some are even doing good. This shows there is a problem with the model (Mallya followed).”

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