- Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri took a loan in 1965 for a Fiat car
- Mr Shastri's loan was approved by Punjab National Bank the same day
- The 1964 Fiat is on display at the Lal Bahadur Shastri memorial in Delhi
The loan was taken in 1965 by then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri for a Fiat car, the Economic Times reported today.
When the Shastris learnt that a new car would cost Rs 12,000, far more than the Rs 7,000 they had in the bank, the Prime Minister applied for a loan and got it the same day.
Congress lawmaker Shashi Tharoor was among those who shared the story, which left many dazed about the incredible honesty of an iconic leader who was austere to a fault.
When Mr Shastri's loan was approved quickly, he told the bank that the common man should have the same privilege.
Mr Shastri died in office in 1966, while on a visit to Tashkent to sign a peace agreement that ended the India-Pakistan war. When the bank wrote to his wife Lalita Shastri for the Rs 5,000 he owed, she promised to pay them back in instalments from her family pension. She repaid every rupee, says the report.
In response to tweets, the former prime minister's grandson Adarsh Shastri confirmed the story.
The cream-coloured car, a 1964 model Fiat, is on display at the Lal Bahadur Shastri memorial in Delhi.
PNB was founded in 1894. Today, it is at the centre of India's biggest bank fraud.