NEW DELHI — In two weeks, it is second time that the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) had to order the Reserve Bank of India and Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to reveal information about big wilful defaulters of bank loans.
In his latest order on 16th November, the CIC reportedly directed the RBI and PMO to disclose information on list of willful defaulters and action taken on the ‘alerting letter’ written by former Governor of RBI Raghuram Rajan on 5th Feb. 2015.
“If the letter of Sri Raghuram Rajan is acted upon, PMO should have explained the same, if not acted upon, should have mentioned it, and if there is any objection based on any exception, the PMO should have pleaded such provision and justify their denial. Instead, the PMO refused to comply with the direction of disclosure of action on letter of Sri Raghuram Rajan, on grounds which are not legal. It’s unfortunate. It has moral, constitutional and political duty to tell the citizens of India as to who are and what action was taken against defaulters to recover the huge loans advanced to them by banks, from out of tax payer’s money. It is not justified to deny the right of the people, who are sovereigns, to know who evaded thousands of crores of rupees loans, what action was taken against them by their representative government, banks and the RBI, being a central bank with statutory regulatory functions”, Chief Information Commissioner Prof. M. Sridhar Acharyalu was quoted as saying by LiveLaw.in in a 67 page order issued on 16th Nov.
On 2nd Nov. also, the CIC had issued similar notice to RBI seeking information about the list of the bank loan defaulters.
Holding the current RBI Governor directly responsible for nondisclosure and defiance of SC orders and CIC orders, the Commissioner had 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.