MUMBAI: No day may have passed in Kerala in the recent past without a debate on KIIFB masala bond. It even took the valuable three hours of Assembly a few days ago, when the Opposition raised the issue in the House.
KIIFB’s masala bond, though boasts to be the first such debt instrument to have been issued by a sub-sovereign entity in India, none from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) team gathered for the crucial press briefing in Mumbai seemed to remember even approving such an instrument.
The occasion was the press briefing in Mumbai today (Thursday) following the Monetary Policy announcement by the key team of RBI top officials led by the governor Shaktikanta Das, who was flanked by deputy governors at the dais.
One of the lady journalists enquired whether a sub sovereign entity like KIIFB from Kerala raising debt in the overseas markets through issue of bonds (she inadvertently mentioned it as dollar bonds) wasn’t contrary to the provisions of constitution.
“And I am sure RBI must have given the approval to the issue of this bond,” she added.
But surprisingly, the whole dais including the Governor and the deputy governors, denied any knowledge of any such bonds issued by KIIFB from Kerala.
After an unnerving silence for a while on the dais that wore an expression that dismissed what this journalist was talking about, one deputy governor went to the extent of passing the comment, “You may be referring to the chit funds that the Kerala entity has floated for the NRIs to subscribe to.”
Despite an attempt from someone in the scribes’ group by shouting to mention that it was ‘masala bond’, the Governor after failing to recollect anything of that sort, wound up the query by stating that he would look into the matter, and coolly moved on to the next question from the press gathering.