Indian Banks Report Frauds of $13 Billion in 6 Months

Nirmala Sitharaman (file photo) Photo: PIB
Nirmala Sitharaman (file photo) Photo: PIB

India’s finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman told in parliament today that the state-run banks have reported fraud of Rs. 95,760 crore ($13.34 billion) in the first 6 months of the fiscal year 2019-20 ending in March. Reuters reports that the number of fraud cases touched 5,743 during April-September period.

Sitharaman informed Indian lawmakers that the government has taken multiple measures to curb the incidence of fraud in banks. These include freezing of 338,000 bank accounts of inoperative companies in the past 2 financial years and enactment of a law to confiscate the property of economic offenders.

In a large scale operation against frauds in banks, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in India has conducted searches at around 187 places in different States / UTs.

These areas included Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Dadra & Nagar Haveli.

According to a CBI communique of November 5, the investigative agency has registered around 42 cases of bank frauds involving Rs. 7,200 crore approximately (US$1 billion).

The banks involved (including consortium members) are Andhra Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Indian Overseas Bank, SBI, Allahabad Bank, Canara Bank, Dena Bank, Punjab & Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, Central Bank of India, Union Bank of India, IDBI Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra, and Bank of India.

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Out of the 42 registered cases, there are 4 cases of more than Rs. 1,000 crore (approximately) and 11 cases of fraud amount of Rs. 100 crore (approximately) to Rs. 1,000 crore (approximately).

During searches, according to CBI, incriminating documents have been recovered while the searches were still in progress.

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Rakesh Raman