In view of the recent housing loan bribery scam involving top officials from public sector banks (PSBs) and LIC Housing Finance, bank unions have sought the setting up of an independent audit commission for banks. All-India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA), the largest union of bank staff, has demanded that the government constitute an audit commission similar to the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) so that greater transparency can be ensured.
“To prevent rampant corruption in PSBs and in their transactions, we’ve demanded for an independent audit commission, which should be accountable to the Parliament,” AIBEA national general secretary CH Venkatachalam told HT.
The demand was approved by the union’s central committee meeting here over the weekend. “We have written to the government and will meet the finance minister and officials within a week,” Venkatachalam, also a convener of United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU), said.
Another demand of the staff union is doing away with the methodology by which the central auditor for a PSB is selected. “Previously, Reserve Bank of India appointed the central auditors for the banks to audit their annual accounts,” said Venkatachalam. “Now (for over a year) the PSBs select a panel of auditors and RBI selects one out of it. Since banks can influence an auditor of its choice, we’ve demanded revoking the system”.
Since PSBs are custodians of R35 lakh crore in deposits, they should be accountable to the nation for all their financial activities, the union claimed.
The All-India Insurance Employees’ Association (AIIEA) too has demanded a thorough investigation into the entire scam, and stringent action against the guilty. “We have written to the LIC chairman for a precautionary course of action, to prevent draining of public money,” said general secretary (North), AIIEA, Chako Daniel.