Every Panama Account is Being Probed: Jaitley
FM tells Rajya Sabha that details of Liechtenstein, HSBC cases will be known when cases are filed
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.