Facing flak from CPI(M)leader Sitaram Yechury for having waived off  the ₹7,000 crore loan, including that of industrialist Vijay Mallya, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley defended the government saying, “There is a little bit of malapropism involved in this. Don't go by literal meaning write-off, it does not. Write-off does not mean loan waiver. Loan still remains."



Yechury alleged during a discussion on demonetisation in the Rajya Sabha that the government was favouring "crocodiles" while "small fishes" were dying. In this context, he alleged that SBI had written off  ₹7,000 crore NPAs (non performing assets). He named Mallya as one of those whose loans had been written off.



Mallya has been declared a wilful defaulter for not having paid loans taken in the name of the defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Around ₹1,200 crore in dues is owed by Vijay Mallya's collapsed Kingfisher Airlines and  has been labelled as 'write off' in the books of the SBI.



Jaitley referred to the Mallya loan issue as a "terrible legacy" which the NDA government had inherited from UPA.  Jaitley insisted that the move should not be taken literally, "Written off does not mean waiver.... It does not mean that the loan ceases to be a loan. We will still chase the loan, the entry in the book changes that is from being performing assets, it becomes a non-performing one."



He said the government continues to pursue the case. Yechury, however, refused to accept Jaitley’s explanation. He questioned that while the government was busy doing all these 'hera-pheri' (irregularities), would they do the same for the farmers?



Jaitley further clarified that the loan (to Mallya) was sanctioned when the present government was not in power, an apparent reference to the previous UPA rule.