Though the Rs 13,700-crore PNB (Punjab National Bank) fraud was the most-talked-about banking scam of the year 2017, it was not the only one. A total of 5,152 cases of fraud involving over Rs 28,459 crore were reported in various banks of the country in the past year from April 2017 to March 1, 2018. This is 76 more than the number of fraud cases reported a year before.
According to a PTI report, an RTI query to the RBI has revealed that over 23,000 cases of fraud were reported in the past five years, involving a whopping Rs 1 lakh crore. And if you thought the financial year 2016-17 was any better, sample this: it was the year during which banks had reported a total of 5,076 cases of fraud involving Rs 23,933 crore. In 2015-16, the number was 4,693 cases involving Rs 18,698 crore, while 4,639 cases involving Rs 19,455 crore were reported in 2014-15. The year 2013-14 saw 4,306 cases of banking-related frauds in which money worth over Rs 10,170 crore was involved.
The central bank in response to the RTI query said in all these cases, the authorities concerned took appropriate action as per "the facts and circumstances of individual cases".
The biggest banking scam in the country's independent history was unearthed at PNB's Brady House branch in Mumbai in February in which diamond merchant Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi were named as prime accused. The continuous media reportage on the PNB fraud and the investigation by agencies led to the exposures of various big-ticket fraud cases in banks, mainly involving industrialists.
In February, Kanpur-based group Rotomac owner Vikram Kothari and his son were arrested in connection with the alleged swindling of Rs 3,695 crore of loan funds advanced by a consortium of seven banks. Not only industrialists, but several bank officials have been found to be involved in several cases. On April 26, the CBI booked top officials of two public sector banks, a former CMD of the IDBI Bank, former Aircel promoter C Sivasankaran, his son, and companies controlled by him in connection with a Rs 600-crore loan fraud in the IDBI.
According to government data, the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of all banks in the country, amounting to Rs 8,40,958 crore in December 2017, were led by industry loans followed by those in the services and agriculture sectors. The highest amount of gross NPAs was for the country's largest lender, the State Bank of India, at Rs 2,01,560 crore. Among the others, the NPA for PNB stood at Rs 55,200 crore and for IDBI Bank, Rs 44,542 crore.
Bank of India had NPAs worth Rs 43,474 crore; Bank of Baroda, Rs 41,649 crore; Union Bank of India, Rs 38,047 crore; Canara Bank, Rs 37,794 crore and ICICI Bank, Rs 33,849 crore, according to data presented by Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla in the Lok Sabha on March 9.
With PTI inputs
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