According to officials of the Bank of Baroda, Manmohan Singh, a farmer in Pilbhit with just eight acres of land to his name, was the guarantor for loans defaulted on by liquor baron on the run, Vijay Mallya. In December 2015, the Mumbai office of the nationalised bank asked the Naand branch of the bank to freeze two accounts belonging to the farmer, since he had stood guarantee for loans taken by Vijay Mallya.
As a result, Singh has reportedly been unable to obtain subsidies under any government schemes. Having reportedly had to sell his previous wheat crop at low prices below the minimum support price, he is unable to obtain subsidies for seeds, insecticides, or other agricultural inputs because of the action of the bank. Singh is also unable to find any other bank that will let him open a fresh account and avail of subsidies.
"I do not understand how this happened. I do not know anything about Mallya and have never visited Mumbai in my life,â€ť Singh told TOI.
According to the Hindustan Times, Singh, who claims his familyâ€™s annual income is less than Rs 3 lakh, has submitted a letter to the bank denying any knowledge of Mallyaâ€™s loans and asking for his accounts to be reopened.
â€śI have Rs 4,000 in one account and Rs 1,217 in another. How will they recover loan worth crores from my accounts?â€ť Singh said to HT.
It is unclear if Bank of Baroda has rectified the error and renewed Singhâ€™s access to his bank accounts. While TOI reported that the Mumbai regional office has not taken any action despite a favourable report from Mange Ram, the manager of the Naand branch of the bank, Mid-Day reported that on Friday the Mumbai branch gave permission for Singhâ€™s accounts to be re-opened.
According to media reports, the Mumbai regional office has thus far not provided any information on how Singh came to be identified as the guarantor.