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Monday 6 July 2020

PNB scam: RBI refuses to share copies of inspection reports

PNB was allegedly defrauded by diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems

New Delhi: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has refused to share inspection reports for scam-hit Punjab National Bank (PNB), quoting RTI clauses that bar disclosure of details which may impede the investigation process or prosecution of offenders among other reasons.

Replying to an RTI query, the RBI also said it does not have “specific information” on what resulted in detection of over Rs 13,000 crore scam at PNB and directed the application to the state-run bank for providing those details.

The PNB scam is being considered as the biggest ever fraud in India’s history. PNB was allegedly defrauded by diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems.

The central bank clarified that the RBI does not carry out an audit of banks. However, the RBI conducts inspection/risk-based supervision of banks, it added.

“The inspection reports of banks and other related documents contain information which is exempt from disclosure under Section 8 (1) (a), (d), (j) and (h) of RTI Act, 2005,” it said in reply to the RTI application filed by this correspondent.

The RBI said that the severance of exempt parts in all inspection reports would divert the resources of the public authority in an unreasonable way.

“In view of the same it is not feasible to disclose the information sought by the applicant,” the central bank said.

The RBI has transferred the application to the PNB on query seeking details of inspection reports that led to the detection of the massive fraud in the bank.

“The specific information sought is not available with us. However, the RTI application is being transferred to PNB under Section 6 (3) of the RTI Act, 2005 for providing information, if any, directly to the applicant,” it said.

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