Swamy’s PIL for probe against officials over banking scams unmaintainable: RBI
Swamy argued the CBI, which is investigating these scams, has not even sought to examine the role of officials of RBI
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy’s Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a probe against Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s officials over their alleged acts of omission or commission in banking scams is not maintainable, the regulatory body told the Supreme Court on Friday even as it got four weeks to submit its objections.
Swamy has sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe against RBI officials over the duping of public money worth several thousand crores. In October, the court sought CBI and RBI’s responses over the plea.
Advocate Ramesh Babu, who appeared for RBI, informed the court his client has prima facie objections to the PIL and was objecting to its maintainability. For the CBI, additional solicitor general KM Nataraj requested a copy of the petition.
A bench of justices BR Gavai and Vikram Nath said RBI can file a short affidavit raising the issue of maintainability. It posted the matter for hearing in January while asking the respondents to file their responses. “A further two weeks is granted to the petitioner [Swamy] to file a response to the affidavit.”
In the plea, Swamy and advocate Satya Sabharwal cited the public interest while highlighting a spate of financial and banking frauds and their impact on India’s economy. It said all this went unnoticed by the banking regulator, RBI, despite its obligation to the management of these banks by appointing chief risk officers.
“In the last couple of years, various banks have reported scams after scams wherein the role of bank officials were clearly made out but surprisingly not even a single RBI official has been brought to justice despite RBI retaining the power to monitor, regulate, supervise, audit and direct the functioning of all banking companies in India,” the plea said.
Swamy has cited information obtained under the Right to Information Act to substantiate this claim. He asked the court to direct a CBI inquiry or by any independent agency into the role it played and to unearth any failure on part of the RBI that resulted in these scams.
Swamy has listed scams under probe to show the extent of loot of public money. He has cited the Kingfisher scam ( ₹9400 crore), Nirav Modi’s Punjab National Bank scam ( ₹11,400 crore), Bank of Maharashtra scam ( ₹2043 crore), PMC Bank scam ( ₹6500 crore), Rotomac scam ( ₹3695 crore) among others.
The petition cited the Banking Regulation Act and said it makes RBI the alter ego of bank management, particularly in the public sector. “In none of the high-profile banking scams, the Central Bureau of Investigation investigating these scams has not even sought to examine the role of officials of RBI.”
It said RBI’s inaction or connivance was proving detrimental to the interest of depositors, investors, and shareholders and has resulted in a loss of faith in the banking system. The plea said the banking regulator remained “supinely indifferent” to the series of bank frauds.