The inspection report on the financial position of the scam-hit Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank as on March 31 this year is yet to be finalised, the Reserve Bank of India has said. Replying to an RTI query, it said preliminary findings of the RBI indicated large-scale irregularities in the bank, warranting supersession of its board of directors and imposition of all inclusive directions of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949. "The inspection report is yet to be finalised as inspection of the bank with respect to its financial position as on March 31, 2019, is under progress," the central bank said in response to the RTI application field by this PTI journalist.
The RBI declined to give copies of two complaints received by it regarding "irregularities" in the bank and the action taken on them, citing exemption clause in the transparency law that bars disclosure of information that would impede the process of investigation or prosecution of offenders. Based on the complaint vide letter dated September 17, wherein the complainant had alleged that the PMC Bank committed some irregularities, the RBI on September 19 commenced statutory inspection of the bank on its financial position as on March 31, it said. "In view of the ongoing investigation into the bank's affairs by various authorities, an exemption is sought from disclosing the information under Section 8 (1) (g) and 8 (1) (h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005," the RBI said.
The Section 8 (1) (g) bars information "the disclosure of which would endanger the life or physical safety of any person or identify the source of information or assistance given in confidence for law enforcement or security purposes". The other section exempts disclosure of "information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders". The RBI was asked to share copies of complaints of any alleged irregularities in the PMC bank and the action taken on each one of them. "We have received two complaints," the central bank said, without giving the details of the second complaint.
The multi-state co-operative bank has been under the RBI restriction since September 23, after the central bank had found financial irregularities, including huge under-reporting of loans and non-performing assets to real estate developer HDIL to the tune of Rs 6,500 crore, against its entire assets of Rs 8,880 crore, using hundreds of dummy accounts. The central bank had sacked the board of the bank and appointed an administrator. The RBI said it has received complaints forwarded to it by the Finance Ministry for comments or direct reply to the complainants. "We have so far not received any written communication from the Finance Ministry apart from complaints received by them forwarded to us for comments/direct reply to complainant," it said.