In the wake of the Rs 11,380-crore scam at the Punjab National Bank, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Saturday said regulators need to be held accountable. Speaking at the Economic Times Global Business Summit 2018 in New Delhi, Jaitley said “unethical behaviour” in lender-borrower relations must end. “The industry needs to get into the habit of doing ethical business.”
He said regulators ultimately decide the rules of the game. “They have to have a third eye which is perpetually open. Unfortunately, in the Indian system, we politicians are accountable but regulators are not,” he added, according to ANI.
The finance minister said the scam at Punjab National Bank was particularly worrisome because no one raised any red flags, reported The Times of India. “A scam of such a massive magnitude was orchestrated despite multiple layers of auditing system,” he said. “If a fraud is taking place in multiple branches of the banking system and no one raised the red flag, doesn’t that become worrisome for a country. Similarly, top management who were indifferent, multiple layers of auditing system which chose to look other way, it creates a worrisome situation.”
The Punjab National Bank reported fraudulent transaction worth Rs 11,380 crore earlier this month. Businessman Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have been named accused in the case.
Jaitley said such scams also affect the ease of doing business in the country, reported the Economic Times. “Cases of wilful default is something which is much more than a business failure and also bank frauds. If you periodically have incidents like these, the entire effort of ease of doing business goes to background and these scars on the economy take the front seat,” he said.
Earlier this week, Jaitley had blamed the Punjab National Bank’s management for not utilising its authority effectively to prevent the massive scam. He had also asked what the bank’s auditors were doing while fraudulent transactions were taking place. “If both internal and external auditors have looked the other way and failed to detect the fraud, then chartered accountants must introspect,” Jaitley had said.