RBI chief wants PMO to act against bank frauds worth Rs 17,500 crore

  • Sanjib Kr Baruah, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Apr 24, 2015 07:50 IST

RBI chief Raghuram Rajan has written to the prime minister’s office seeking “concerted” action in the country’s 10 biggest bank frauds allegedly involving prominent real estate, media and diamond firms that are being probed by the CBI, officials told HT.

Rajan listed the scams pegged at about Rs 17,500 crore and outlined their dates, the reasons cited by banks for delays in their investigation and the status of the cases obtained from the CBI, said sources.

“All these high-value frauds have taken place in the last 10-15 years,” said a senior official from the department of financial services (DFS), a finance ministry wing. “Investigations by the CBI are on in the listed cases.”

Analysts say such frauds have triggered a rise in non-performing assets, which stood at Rs 2,60,531 crore for public sector banks last December. The top 30 defaulters accounted for more than a third of these bad loans.

The bank accounts cited by the RBI belong to Winsome Diamond and Jewellery, Zoom Developers, Tiwari Group, Surya Vinayak Industries, Deccan Chronicle Holdings, First Leasing Company of India, Biolor Industries, Surya Pharmaceuticals, Prime Impex / Prime Pulses and a person identified as Shivraj Puri, sources said.

“We have no comments to offer,” Alpana Killawala, the central bank’s spokesperson, told HT.

The PMO has told the DFS secretary to examine the scams and take it up with the cabinet secretary. It has also asked all concerned agencies to pursue the cases “vigorously”.

“The PMO asked the DFS to suggest a mechanism for coordinating and pursuing large-value banking frauds including structural changes that may be required in fraud reporting and coordinating arrangements apart from suggesting regulatory changes where necessary,” sources said.

The PMO last month asked for the setting up of a high-level committee to formulate a set of standard operating procedures to be followed by all agencies for a robust anti-fraud banking mechanism.

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