NEW DELHI — In perhaps its biggest action ever, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has sent a show-cause notice to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) pulling up the central bank of the country for non-disclosure of the names and details of action taken against willful defaulters of big bad loans.
According to LiveLaw.in, which has published the 2nd Nov. order of CIC, the CPIOs of the RBI, the PMO and office of the Finance Minister have also been directed to explain the action taken on the ‘alerting letter’ written by former Governor of RBI Raghuram Rajan in February 2015.
The CIC has sought reply before 16th November.
While considering an appeal that had sought details about willful defaulters, Central Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyalu observed: “The Commission finds no merit in hiding the names of, details and action against willful defaulters of big bad loans worth hundreds of crores of rupees. The RBI shall disclose the bad debt details of defaulters worth more than 1000 crore at the beginning, of Rs 500 crore or less at later stage within five days and collect such information from the banks in due course to update their voluntary disclosures from time to time as a practice under Section 4(1)(b) of RTI Act.”
Holding the RBI Governor directly responsible for nondisclosure and defiance of SC orders and CIC orders, the Commissioner has directed him to show cause why the maximum penalty should not be imposed on him for these reasons, before November 16, 2018. The CIC also asked the concerned administrative officers of the Central Information Commission to explore possibilities enforcing the orders of Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi which were upheld by the Supreme Court dismissing the the RBI’s appeal.
In 2015 itself, the apex court had ordered RBI to make public the list of loan defaulters with public sector banks.
Govt. Wants Rs 3.63 Lakh Crore From RBI?
Meanwhile, media reports suggest there is a sort of tussle going on between RBI and the central government. Recently, RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya had gone public warning the central government over its alleged intervention in the central bank.
At the heart of the RBI-government standoff, says The Indian Express, is a proposal by the Union Finance Ministry seeking transfer of a surplus of Rs 3.6 lakh crore, more than a third of the total Rs 9.59 lakh crore reserves of the central bank, to the government. RBI has reportedly not accepted the proposal.