Banks violated SC guidelines on loan defaults

Nod of ‘appropriate administrative authority’ needed by courts.

Updated - October 18, 2016 02:42 pm IST

Published - April 08, 2016 03:16 am IST - NEW DELHI:

In at least 16 cases public sector banks have delayed permission, the CVC said.  Photo: P.V. Sivakumar.

In at least 16 cases public sector banks have delayed permission, the CVC said. Photo: P.V. Sivakumar.

Despite a nationwide uproar over the gigantic size of non-performing assets (NPAs) and many loan defaults, the public sector banks have violated the Supreme Court guidelines to give prosecution sanction within four months to proceed against officers accused of criminal conspiracy to cheat them.

There are 16 cases involving eight banks that are pending for more than four months, according to the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). The banks account for over 37 per cent of the total 43 cases that have gone beyond the deadline set by the apex court.

Among the banks that have violated the deadline are Oriental Bank of Commerce, Corporation Bank, State Bank of Patiala, Bank of India, Exim Bank, State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, and Indian Overseas Bank. Email queries sent to the banks by The Hindu were not responded to at the time of going to press.

In the case of Indian Overseas Bank, there were seven cases pending, while State Bank of India was sitting on two cases.

When cases pending for prosecution sanction for less than three months is taken into consideration, the number balloons up, revealing the real challenge in the banking sector.

According to sources, almost 100 cases are pending with various public sector banks for prosecution sanction. Sources said the number of cases pending has gone up in recent weeks.

Under Section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, courts cannot take cognisance of a charge sheet until the prosecuting authority, in this case the CBI, has the sanction of the “appropriate administrative authority.”

The Supreme Court has laid down guidelines setting a time limit of three months for grant of sanction for prosecution, once the investigation agency submits its FIR, findings and other relevant documents to the sanctioning authority. An additional month’s time is given in cases in which the sanctioning authority wants to consult the Attorney-General or any other law officer in the AG’s office.

The pending cases do not for now cover any of the major financial scandals grabbing public attention such as Kingfisher Airlines, because investigations are still under way into most of them. “These may be of the size of few hundred crores, but that is how it has all added up,” one senior official said.

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