Parl Panel to call ED, CBI chiefs on NPAs

Parl Panel to call ED, CBI chiefs on NPAs

The decision was taken on Tuesday at a meeting of the  Standing Committee on Estimates headed by BJP veteran Murli Manohar Joshi. The panel posed pointed questions to Finance Secretary Hasmukh Adhia, representatives of RBI and a number of Public Sector Banks.

Panel members noted the government's responsibility in pegging NPA and took objection to Adhia saying that he is not in a position to say much on NPAs as the finance ministry's five wings operate independently and report directly to the Finance Minister.

Chairman Joshi rejected the excuse saying the panel has summoned him to represent the finance ministry and not as an individual.

Asked about the reasons for NPAs and what the probes so far have revealed, Adhia replied that investigating agencies CBI and ED may have details. Thereafter, it was decided to call the two agencies for the next meeting.

The panel also asked the government and the banks to reply to members' questions in writing.

The panel called before it representatives from Punjab National Bank, which is in the eye of a storm over a Rs 13,000 crore fraud involving diamantaires Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi, besides lead public sector bank - State Bank of India.

Grilled separately

RBI Deputy Governor N S Vishwanathan and Chief General Manager in-charge of RBI's Department of Banking Regulation Saurav Sinha also appeared before the panel, which grilled all of them separately on the performance of Public Sector Banks, Mechanism for Recovery of Bad Debts and Debt Recovery Tribunals (DRTs).

Sources said that CPI-M member Md Salim pointed out that when the government tries to help the banks making losses due to NPA through recapitalisation, it is public money which is involved and, hence, the finance ministry has a role to play in the whole issue.

BJP member Nishikant Dubey asked what impact the recent changes introduced under the new finance bill had on the over-all NPA scenario.

The committee will meet tomorrow as well.





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