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Frauds push ease of doing business to background, scars take front seat: Jaitley

NEW DELHI: Lamenting that cases of bank frauds put the efforts to boost the economy to the backseat, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said that cases of willful default are something much more than a business failure. “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,” Jaitley said.
Speaking about the Rs 11,400 fraud in the Punjab National Bank, he said that such a case is worrisome. “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, the top management who were indifferent, multiple layers of auditing system which chose to look the other way, it creates a worrisome situation,” he said adding that the industry needs to get into the habit of doing ‘ethical’ business.
He also slammed the regulators for failing to detect the PNB fraud which went on for seven long years, saying that unlike politicians, regulators in the Indian system are not accountable. “Regulators have a very important function, they ultimately decide the rules of the game and they have to have a third eye which perpetually is open. Unfortunately, in the Indian system, we politicians are accountable but regulators are not,” he said. He asserted that if needed laws, should be tightened further to punish delinquent persons.
Jaitley had earlier said that in the PNB fraud case, the state will chase down cheaters to the end. Without naming either the alleged kingpin of the fraud, billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, or the PNB, Jaitley had earlier also questioned the ethics of some businesses in the country and asked how the auditors could not detect the fraud.