Expose on SBI could only be the tip of the iceberg: bank employees’ union leader
The details of the annual inspection of banks’ accounts by the RBI accessed through RTI alleges that India’s largest public sector bank SBI understated its liabilities by ‘window dressing’.
An expose has brought to the public domain disparities between the figures for 3 years for State Bank of India (SBI). As per the media report, the State Bank of India overstated its profits by around ₹9,500 for three years in between 2012-13 and 2014-15.
Suppression of facts by SBI has been alleged in the fields of employee fraud, bad loans and anti-money laundering rules. The RTI details availed by an activist Girish Mittal reveal that SBI has not enforced securities provided on a loan, and loans were disbursed without proper procedure.
The chairpersons of SBI bank during the tenure of the reported ‘scam’ were Pratip Chaudhuri followed by Arundhati Bhattacharya.
“We always knew this. The employees unions have repeatedly tried to bring it to the notice of the bank as well as the government. We are not surprised. We are anguished that there was a concerted effort to ensure that the true figures do not come out as the information was denied by the SBI under RTI and the activist had to go on an appeal,” C H Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees Association (AIBEA) told Asiaville.
The RTI response accessed by Mittal and published in the media reveals that SBI under reported bad loans given out to diamond trading and power sectors. The infamous Punjab National Bank scam also involved diamond trader Nirav Modi who had unpaid loans to the tune of around ₹2 billion and is now absconding from India and facing extradition procedure in the United Kingdom.
However, the employees union head told Asiaville that the numbers revealed could be just a fraction of the real problem although he seemed assured that banks like SBI are too huge to be affected by such a scam.
“It is a huge bank. Almost one-third of the banking in India is taken care of by SBI. We do not fear any collapse but we are also sure that the problem is bigger and the figures revealed in RTI are just a tip of the iceberg,” Venkatachalam added.
The expose also reveals that the bank also performed “a clean-up exercise every time a new chairman took over.”
“They can make changes to clean up the books but it is the money of the people and the bank must be accountable to the people for their inefficiency and laxity,” Venkatachalam added.