Ev­ery Panama Ac­count is Be­ing Probed: Jait­ley

FM tells Ra­jya Sabha that de­tails of Liecht­en­stein, HSBC cases will be known when cases are filed

The Economic Times - - Companies: Pursuit Of Profit - Our Bureau

New Delhi: Fi­nance min­is­ter Arun Jait­ley on Thurs­day said that ev­ery ac­count named in the Panama pa­pers is be­ing probed, but clar­i­fied that due process of law will be fol­lowed. “Nobody has ever taken more ac­tion than this gov­ern­ment has on all for­eign ac­count de­tails which have come,” Jait­ley said in the Ra­jya Sabha while re­ply­ing to a ques­tion dur­ing the de­bate on Bank­ing Reg­u­la­tion (Amend­ment) Bill.

The Bill was later passed by the Ra­jya Sabha. It re­places the or­di­nance pro­mul­gated in May to give the Re­serve Bank of In­dia pow­ers to deal with non-per­form­ing loans.

The Panama Pa­pers re­fer to the leak of the data­base of off­shore law firm Mos­sack Fon­seca that re­vealed many se­cret off­shore ac­counts. “Ev­ery ac­count in Panama has been in­ves­ti­gated. We have a rule of law. We do not have a sys­tem like our neigh­bour­ing coun­tries that you re­move first and then have the trial. We first make our own in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” the fi­nance min­is­ter said, adding that the gov­ern­ment is in touch with coun­tries where these ac­counts are held. Pak­istan’s Prime Min­is­ter Nawaz Sharif had to re­sign af­ter a quick probe into the Panama Pa­pers al­legedly lin- Ev­ery ac­count in Panama has been in­ves­ti­gated. We have a rule of law. We do not have a sys­tem like our neigh­bour­ing coun­tries that you re­move first and then have the trial. We first make our own in­ves­ti­ga­tions ked to his fam­ily.

Jait­ley said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion is go­ing on in Liecht­en­stein cases, the HSBC cases and the Panama cases but the gov­ern­ment can­not re­veal de­tails.

The de­tails will be­come pub­lic when cases are filed in courts, he said.

Ini­ti­at­ing the de­bate on the Bill, Jait­ley said that the ca­pac­ity of banks to lend to small cred­i­tors and sup­port growth is be­ing im­pacted pri­mar­ily due to the non­per­form­ing as­sets (NPAs), The Bill em­pow­ers the Re­serve Bank of In­dia to issue di­rec­tions to any bank­ing com­pany or bank­ing com­pa­nies to ini­ti­ate in­sol­vency res­o­lu­tion process in re­spect of a de­fault, un­der the pro­vi­sions of the In­sol­vency and Bank­ruptcy Code, 2016.

He lauded the role of the Na­tional Com­pany Law Tri­bunal (NCLT) say­ing they had moved quite ex­pe­di­tiously in the last one-and-a-half months and that the gov­ern­ment was in dis­cus­sion with the tri­bunal on the need for more re­sources.

He said the sys­tem has shaken the de­fault­ers. “So far In­dia has moved on the prin­ci­ple that till such time you take the loan, you run af­ter the bank and, there­after, the bankers run af­ter you.”

Un­der the in­sol­vency law, Jait­ley said, this has changed and NCLT can get some­one else to run the com­pany.

He also ques­tioned if pub­lic sec­tor banks should be run by the gov­ern­ment. “Gov­ern­ment as a share­holder of these banks can at best tell the banks, but it is for you to con­sider whether man­age­ment of the pub­lic sec­tor banks from the North Block is the right pol­icy be­cause a lot of ills in the past have flown from there,” he said cau­tion­ing against mi­cro man­age­ment of pub­lic sec­tor banks.

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