RTI responses show that there are huge discrepancies between Reserve Bank of India figures relating to banks, and the information supplied by public sector banks to the RBI.
For instance, while the RBI says Punjab National Bank wrote off over Rs 8,500 crore as non-performing assets (NPAs) in the last two years, PNB says it had made no write-offs in this period. And while the Bank of India says its write-offs in the last two years were
more than Rs 17,700 crore, the RBI says they were Rs 2,567 crore.
Earlier this year, the RBI said Rs 1.14 lakh crore had been written off by public sector banks in the last three years. Taking suo motu cognisance of the report, the Supreme Court asked the RBI whether the write-offs were a "big fraud."
A bench led by Chief Justice TS Thakur last week also made the Union Finance Ministry and an association of public sector banks parties to the case.
But these RTI replies showing discrepancies between the figures of the RBI and those of the banks show that the extent of the bad loans may still not be clear, says The Indian Express.
Many banks say that they have no obligation to inform the RBI of the amount of bad loans they write off. The PNB, for instance, said that there are no guidelines for the submission of account-wise details of amounts written off.
Central Bank and Bank of Maharashtra both said that they usually report only the figures relating to their top 50 NPA portfolios to the RBI.
The only cases where bank data matched RBI figures were those where banks diligently reported to the RBI. These include IDBI, Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Dena Bank and State Bank affiliates.
The RBI said that it gets its data from off-site balance sheets, analysis returns and global operations.