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New Delhi, July 4

THE All-India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) today released the list of bank defaulters and demanded that wilful default be declared as a criminal offence.

According to Mr Rama Nand, joint secretary of the AIBEA, in Delhi alone the corporate sector has defaulted Rs 13,500 crore to the banking system.

Mr Nand said that the decline in non-performing assets (NPA) that the banks have shown in their last year's balance sheets is nothing but jugglery of accounts.

"One public sector bank is buying the NPA of another public sector bank and it is convenient for both to show it as a reclassified account. So the NPA level comes down artificially," he said.

This, he claimed is also being done within the banks by increasing overdraft limits.

"It will become clear if one studies the consolidated balance sheet of the entire banking system. It would be found that total NPA levels have not actually come down," he said.

As of now, the total NPA of the banking system is around Rs 65,000 crore after writing off Rs 75,000 crore during the past 10 years, he said and added that if the overdue interest is added and other accounting juggleries done away with, this figure would go up to Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated July 5, 2005)
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