Bring out white paper on banking system: Congress to NDA

Another banking fraud alleged as owner of Rotomac pens owes Rs8b to a consortium of Indian banks

New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday alleged “fraudsters” were linked to the “highest echelons” of the BJP-led NDA and urged the government to bring out a white paper on the banking system which it said had witnessed scams involving over Rs610 billion (Dh34.86 billion) in the last five years.

“Bank frauds are tumbling out of the closet faster than you can say Jack Robinson,” Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari said, alleging that another banking fraud was now out in the open.

Referring to the Rs114-billion scam in which billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) from state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB), Tewari said while the “Modi-Choksi tango” was still going on, reports had emerged about another banking fraud.

Vikram Kothari, the owner of Rotomac pens, owes Rs8 billion to a consortium of Indian banks and was now untraceable, he said.

The frauds in the Indian banks are growing every day, the former union minister said, claiming that according to the Reserve Bank of India data, Rs612.6 billion of banking frauds had taken place in the last five years.

“Data released by the RBI show that Rs61,260 crore banking frauds have taken place in the last five years, and out of these five years, the BJP-led NDA has been in power for four years. The linkages between these alleged fraudsters and the highest echelons of the BJP raise some very serious questions about the health of the Indian economy,” he told reporters here.

Therefore, the Congress party “demands a white paper on the Indian banking system from the government,” he said, adding that the BJP-led NDA should direct all banks to publish and declare the name of fraudsters and details related to NPAs (non-performing assets).

The total NPAs of all public and private banks were worth Rs8,367,820,000,000 as of September 2017.

“And 77 per cent of these NPAs are of leading Indian corporate offices,” he said, accusing the government of being unable to check NPAs and take care of the general public’s money.

India occupies the fifth position among 39 countries on NPAs, he added.

An NPA is when a loan taker cannot pay interest for two successive quarters.

The Congress has been attacking the government over the fraud involving PNB, which detected a $1.77 billion (about Rs114-billion) scam in which jeweller Modi allegedly acquired fake LoUs from the bank to secure overseas credit from other lenders.

“It is hilarious that PNB, where this scam happened, won the vigilant award for 2016-17,” Tewari said, adding that this scam raised important questions about the lack of transparency in the government.

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