Public sector banks reported 5,743 cases of fraud in the first half of the ongoing financial year, involving Rs 95,760 crore, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday. This is much higher than the cases the Reserve Bank of India reported in state-run banks in the full 2018-’19 year – 3,766 cases involving Rs 64,509 crore.
Sitharaman said that only 1,007 of the cases reported between April 1 and September 30 – involving Rs 2,509.86 crore – were frauds that took place this year, due to “comprehensive measures” taken to reduce such cases. The government distinguishes such data based on the date of reporting and the date of occurrence.
State Bank of India reported 2,939 fraud cases, involving Rs 25,417 crore, between April 1 and September 30 – of these, 550 cases involving Rs 11 crore took place this year. Punjab National Bank reported 225 cases of fraud worth Rs 10,822 crore, while Bank of Baroda had 180 cases worth Rs 8,273 crore.
Sitharaman was citing data from the Reserve Bank of India.
In December 2018, the RBI had said that frauds had emerged as the “most serious concern” in managing risk in the Indian banking system. Its report showed a rise of 72% in the financial value of frauds in 2017-’18 – from Rs 23,934 crore in 2016-’17 to Rs 41,168 crore. Of this, Rs 38,261 crore was in public sector banks. Data for 2018-’19 was released in August.
The sharp jump in 2017-’18 “mainly reflected a large-value case in the jewellery sector”, the central bank had said in an apparent reference to the Punjab National Bank scam, in which businessmen Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi are the prime accused. The scam, revealed in February 2018, involved a fraud of over Rs 13,000 crore.