PAC likely to order CAG probe of alleged bank frauds

AM Jigeesh New Delhi | Updated on August 21, 2014 Published on August 21, 2014

BANGALORE, KARNATAKA, 26/02/2014: Shashi Kant Sharma, Comptroller and Auditor General of India who inaugurated Avenue Building of AG’s Office, Park House Road in Bangalore on February 26, 2014. Photo: K. Gopinathan   -  K_GOPINATHAN

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is likely to order the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) to probe the fraudulent practices reported in various public sector banks. These scams allegedly run into crores of rupees.

The first meeting of the PAC of the 16th Lok Sabha will take a final call on the issue, newly-appointed PAC Chairman KV Thomas told BusinessLine after a meeting with CAG Shashi Kant Sharma and other senior CAG officials. The CAG also sits in at the PAC’s meetings.

The CAG is supposed to be the “friend, philosopher and guide” of the PAC and it can ask the CAG to audit important issues in the public domain. “There a number of media reports on bank frauds. A CAG audit can reveal the truth,” Thomas said.

Thomas, who did not name a specific case, said the rising number of cases of bank frauds was a matter of concern. “Let the committee meet next week. The members will sit together and will take a final call on the matter,” he added.

Thomas’ statement comes at a time when the Finance Ministry has ordered a forensic audit of Dena Bank and Oriental Bank of Commerce after some of their Mumbai-based branches allegedly misappropriated funds worth ₹437 crore, mobilised through fixed deposits.

45 reports pending

Thomas said 45 CAG reports were pending with the PAC. “We will prioritise these reports and complete work on them in a timely manner,” he added.

CAG reports on the Commonwealth Games, natural gas and coal block allocations and the public-private partnership project at the Mumbai airport are pending with the PAC. Some of these reports have questioned the actions of the previous UPA Government, in which Thomas was a Minister.

When asked about the bad precedent set by the Congress members in the past of not allowing the tabling of the PAC report on the 2G spectrum allocation scam, Thomas said he would seek the co-operation of all members on all reports.

During the UPA’s regime, veteran BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi was Thomas’s predecessor in the PAC. The BJP now has a comfortable majority in the 22-member panel, while the Congress has just three members, including Thomas.

Published on August 21, 2014
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