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NPAs inherited as legacy;govt has zero tolerance to financial impropriety: Prasad


Press Trust of India New Delhi
Calling high-levels of bad debt in the banking system as a UPA legacy, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said his government has zero tolerance to financial impropriety and will take all steps to bring guilty to books.

"We shall not tolerate any kind of impropriety in the banking system. If we have given directions to the banks that you are given autonomy then we expect that you will take proper decision and reform your monitoring," Prasad said while briefing the media after the Cabinet meeting.

The government, he said, "is committed for taking stringent action against NPAs and other irregularities."

The statements assumes significance in the wake of the multi-agency probe into the Rs 12,700 crore scam at Punjab National Bank allegedly masterminded by jeweller Nirav Modi, which is already one of the biggest in the Indian banking sector.

Stating that the non-performing assets (NPA) or bad loans were inherited as a legacy from the previous UPA regime, Prasad took a dig at the Congress saying investigation into the default of a Rs 109 crore loan tied to Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh's son-in-law revealed that the advance was extended in 2011.

The restructuring of the loan was also done during the previous UPA regime, he alleged. "That loan was in the name of farmers and where it was pocketed you all know."

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's son-in-law is among the 11 persons accused of causing a loss of Rs 109 crore to the Oriental Bank of Commerce, according to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

"As far as general NPAs are concerned, Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) has stated in the House, Arun Ji has said, I have said that none of the loans disbursed by our government in 3.5 years fall under NPA category. This is what we inherited as legacy," he said in reply to a query.

He said the "bombs" planted earlier are exploding now.

Prasad said that his government has given Rs 5 lakh crore loans of which 50 per cent were first-hand entrepreneurs.

"Of these about 60 per cent are women. You know (Rs) 10,000; (Rs) 50,000; (Rs) 5 lakh; (Rs) 10 lakh given . People have created employment in large numbers besides employment opportunities," he said.

He said the BJP government "is committed to taking stringent action against NPAs and other irregularities."

On February 14, PNB had detected the fraud wherein billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and associates had allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) from one of the branches of the PNB for overseas credit from other Indian lenders.

The scam was perpetrated by way of fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) generated in the name of Punjab National Bank.

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First Published: Feb 28 2018 | 8:25 PM IST

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