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Over 23,000 bank fraud cases involving Rs 1 lakh crore in 5 yrs: RBI

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New Delhi: 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 a 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.


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Lenders propose to revive Jet Airways by management change: Sources

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New Delhi: Lenders, led by the SBI, are trying to revive debt-laden Jet Airways by change in management as they feel collapse of the airline will not be good for consumers and competition, a source said after the SBI chief met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday.
With Jet flying just about a third of its fleet, defaulting on interest payments and delaying salaries to pilot, State Bank of India Chairman Rajnish Kumar along with Aviation Secretary Pradip Singh Kharola and Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Nripendra Misra met Jaitley Wednesday afternoon.
Kumar said the meeting was to apprise the government, which is an important stakeholder, about the happenings in what was once India’s second-biggest airline, and not to discuss a bailout package.
He, however, emphatically stated that it was in the interest of the lenders and consumers to keep Jet Airways flying, and dragging the debt-ridden firm under bankruptcy proceedings is the last option.
Jet Airways has a debt of over Rs 8,200 crore and needs to make repayments of up to Rs 1,700 crore by the end of March. In case the airline collapses, 23,000 jobs would be at stake.
Though Kumar refused to share details of the lenders’ resolution plan, the source said that the lenders have proposed to change the management of the beleaguered air carrier as they feel it is not possible to run the company with present management. Jet Airways is headed by Naresh Goyal, who currently holds 51 per cent stake.
Abu Dhabi based Etihad Airways has 24 per cent. There were media reports that Etihad has approached the SBI to purchase its 24 per cent stake in the airline. On getting a new player in Jet Airways, Kumar said, “No possibility is ruled out”.
“The dialogue with Etihad is on. It is not that they have conclusively decided that they will go out. But there are certain conditions which they want to be fulfilled and it is nothing but that the airline should be professionally managed and without any interference,” he said.
Lenders of Jet Airways have been working on a resolution plan for last five months and it is almost ready, Kumar said, adding “We will make every effort to keep Jet Airways flying and in no manner it is a bailout for any individual or any promoter whatsoever”.
The SBI chief said that resolution of a service industry, like airline, is nearly impossible under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) and is the last option.
“IBC means that we are grounding the airline. We will keep trying till such time we believe that all hope is lost. But as on date, I can say that not all hope is lost. We have not reached that decision point where we say enough is enough and nothing can be done,” Kumar said.
Chairman of the country’s largest bank said that the government is the most important stakeholder and it is the duty of the lenders to keep the government informed.
“It is in the lender’s Interest, the country’s interest, the aviation sector’s interest that Jet Airways continues to fly,” Kumar added. The pilots union of Jet Airways had on Tuesday threatened to stop flying from April 1 if their salaries are not paid by March 31.
The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said only 41 aircraft of the Jet Airways were currently available for operation and there may be “further attrition” of flights “in coming weeks”. 41 aircraft is just one-third of Jet’s fleet of 119 planes.

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Sebi asks exchanges dealing in agri-commodity derivatives to create fund for farmers

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New Delhi: Sebi on Wednesday asked the exchanges dealing with agri-commodity derivatives to create a fund for farmers and FPOs in which the regulatory fee forgone by the regulator would be deposited.
Besides, it has issued framework including action plan and guiding principles for the utilisation of fund. In September last year, the regulator had decided to levy a nominal fee of Rs 1 lakh per exchange instead of levying charges based on turnover slab rates and proposed to set up a fund with the fee foregone by it.
Sebi on Wednesday said, “it has been decided that the stock exchanges dealing with agricultural commodity derivatives shall create a separate fund earmarked for the benefit of farmers/FPOs (farmers producer organisations) in which the regulatory fee forgone by Sebi shall be deposited.”
For the fund, Sebi said the exchange needs to draw an action plan for full utilisation of foregone fee in any financial year to be utilised during the succeeding financial year. Such action plan shall be drawn up by the 10th of April of the year in which the fund has to be utilised, it added.
The exchanges would be required to disseminate the details of the action plan on their websites under intimation to Sebi.
The earmarked fund shall not be clubbed with any other funds such as Investor Protection Fund, Investor Services Fund, and Corporate Social Responsibility Funds, Sebi said.
Factors like waiver or subsidy in warehousing charges, reimbursement of cost of bags provided to farmers and FPOs for deposits on exchange platform, and subsidising of broker fee for farmers, amongothers, should be considered by exchanges for preparing action plan.

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Telecom subscriber base crosses 120 cr; Jio, BSNL, Airtel add customers

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New Delhi: The country’s telecom subscriber base for the third time crossed 120-crore mark with Reliance Jio, BSNL and Airtel adding new customers in January, according to a report released by telecom regulator Trai.
“The number of telephone subscribers in India increased from 1,197.87 million at the end of December 2018 to 1,203.77 million at the end of January 2019, thereby showing a monthly growth rate of 0.49 per cent,” the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India said in monthly subscriber report for January 2019.
Earlier, the subscriber base crossed the 120-crore mark in July 2017 and May 2018. The mobile customer base grew to 118 crore in January from 117 crore in December.
The wireline connection in the country slid to 2.17 crore in January from 2.18 crore in December. Reliance Jio dominated growth by adding over 93 lakh new mobile customers.
State-run telecom firm BSNL followed Jio by adding 9.82 lakh mobile subscribers. Bharti Airtel returned to growth track, after losing mobile customer in December, by adding over 1 lakh new customers.
The net increase of telecom subscriber in January was 59 lakh, compared to over 1 crore subscribers added by the three players. However, Vodafone Idea and Tata Teleservices jointly lost close to 44 lakh mobile customers.
The country’s biggest telecom operator Vodafone Idea lost 35.8 lakh mobile customers, Tata Teleservices 8.4 lakh and state-run MTNL 4,927 mobile customers. The wireline connections declined mainly because of BSNL losing 90 thousand connections.
Private operators Bharti Airtel and Vodafone added 29,930 and 6,386 connections. Broadband connections in the country grew 4.15 per cent to 54 crore in January from 51.8 crore in December.
The mobile devices-based broadband connections accounted for over 96 per cent of total base with over 52.1 crore subscribers while wireline connections reached 1.82 crore.
Top-five service providers constituted 98.63 per cent market share of the total broadband subscribers at the end of January.
Reliance Jio led the market with 28.94 crore broadband subscribers. It was followed by Bharti Airtel with 11 crore connections, Vodafone Idea 10.98 crore, BSNL 2 crore and and Tata Teleservices Group 22.6 lakh connections.
BSNL maintained lead in the wireline broadband segment with 91.7 lakh connection. It was followed by Airtel with 23 lakh connections, Atria Convergence 14 lakh, Hathway Cable & Datacom 7.9 connection and MTNL 7.7 lakh connections.

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