File photo: The Reserve Bank of India. Photograph:( Zee News Network )
Over 23,000 cases of fraud involving a whopping Rs 1 lakh crore have been reported in the past five years in various banks, according to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
A total of 5,152 cases of fraud, up from over 5,000 cases in 2016-17, were reported in banks from April 2017 to March 1, 2018, it said in reply to an RTI query filed by this correspondent.
The highest ever amount of Rs 28,459 crore is said to have been involved in these cases of fraud reported from April 2017 to March 1, 2018, the central bank said.
In 2016-17, banks had reported 5,076 cases of fraud involving Rs 23,933 crore.
From 2013 to March 1, 2018, as many as 23,866 cases of fraud, of Rs 1 lakh or above in each case, were reported. A total of Rs 1,00,718 crore was involved in all the cases put together, according to the RTI reply.
Giving the break-up, the RBI said 4,693 such cases (involving Rs 18,698 crore) and 4,639 cases (involving Rs 19,455 crore) were reported in 2015-16 and 2014-15 respectively.
In 2013-14, banks reported 4,306 cases of fraud, involving Rs 10,170 crore, the central bank said.
"The reported fraud cases are processed and action is taken according to the facts and circumstances of individual cases," the RBI said.
The data assumes significance as central investigating agencies such as the CBI and the ED are looking into various big-ticket fraud cases in banks involving industrialists and others.
Among the prominent ones is the over Rs 13,000-crore fraud in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) allegedly committed by diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems.
The CBI had recently also booked top officials of two public sector banks, a former CMD of the IDBI Bank, former Aircel promoter C Sivasankaran, his son and companies controlled by him in connection with an Rs 600-crore loan fraud in the IDBI.
The CBI has named 15 bank officials who worked at senior levels at the IDBI in 2010 and 2014 when loans were sanctioned to the companies controlled by Sivasankaran in its FIR registered on a complaint from the Central Vigilance Commission.
Managing Director and CEO of Indian Bank Kishor Kharat (who was then MD and CEO of IDBI Bank) and his counterpart in Syndicate Bank Melwyn Rego (then Deputy Managing Director in IDBI Bank), along with then Chairman-cum-Managing Director of IDBI Bank M S Raghavan, have been named in the latest FIR filed by the CBI.
According to government data, the gross non-performing assets (NPAs) of all banks in the country, amounting to Rs 8,40,958 crore in December 2017, were led by industry loans followed by those in the services and agriculture sectors.
The highest amount of gross NPAs was for the country's largest lender, the State Bank of India, at Rs 2,01,560 crore.
Among the others, the NPA for PNB stood at Rs 55,200 crore and for IDBI Bank, Rs 44,542 crore. Bank of India had NPAs worth Rs 43,474 crore Bank of Baroda, Rs 41,649 crore Union Bank of India, Rs 38,047 crore Canara Bank, Rs 37,794 crore and ICICI Bank, Rs 33,849 crore, according to data presented by Minister of State for Finance Shiv Pratap Shukla in the Lok Sabha on March 9.