Even as the Punjab government proposes a new one-time settlement (OTS) policy for industrial defaulters, more than Rs 250 crore that its two top public-sector undertakings (PSUs) invested 20 years ago in private projects to revive industry in the militancy period remains stuck.
The public money extended then has not been paid back by the beneficiaries. Top names on the defaulters’ lists include Congress legislators Rana Gurjit and Kewal Dhillon; party general secretary Fateh Jang Bajwa; and industrialists Rajinder Gupta (Trident), Kimti Lal Jain (Arihant ), AS Bindra (Punjab Meats), and RK Garg (Indian Acrylics).
MLA Rana Gurjit owes Punjab State Industries Development Corporation (PSIDC) Rs 137 crore, while Trident’s Rajinder Gupta, Punjab planning board vicechairman appointed by the Akali-BJP regime, has to pay back Rs 238 crore.
The Punjab Agro Industries Corporation (PAIC) defaulter list includes Dhillon (for Rs 4.42 crore capital loan taken in 1989), Fateh Bajwa (for Rs 2.15 crore loan), and AS Bindra (for Rs 5.95 crore equity loan from 20 years ago).
The amount due has grown manifold, considering the annual interest. Among the other non-payers from political families, MLA Karan Brar’s relative Bubli Brar owes Rs 12 crore to the PAIC, while MLA Ashwani Sekhri has to return Rs 3 crore to the PSIDC, as put on the official lists in the possession of HT.
While the PSIDC list mentioned outstanding amounts, including the annual interest, the PAIC list did not specify it. PAIC managing director KS Pannnu and PSIDC MD SR Laddar blamed the “ongoing litigations” for prolonged delays in recovery. Pannu said Punjab Agro had taken another look at the possibility of freezing the defaulters’ assets.