Op-Ed: The PNB Scam: Why We Need A More Accountable Internal Vigilante System
The PNB scam of Rs 11,300 crore is now rocking the entire country. It’s the talk of the town. Once again the banks are the target and the rapacious mud-slinging between political parties are going on. In between this me-vs-you battle of political parties, the common man is still baffled the way our internal control system totally collapsed once again. This utter failure is sure to raise the question are they caged parrots?
This time the amount involved in the scam may not be as big as the one’s told to be involved in the 2G or coal scam but the scam is of significant importance because of two important reasons. The first being, PMO was intimated about the scam by a whistle blower Mr. Hari Prasad and PMO has forwarded the information to respective units to tackle the complaint. But nothing happened as the agencies shut the complaint without further investigation. Later all his mails and communications to these respective law enforcing agencies were leaked and appeared in newspaper which now risks his life.
The second important reason that makes this scam an important one is the manipulation of the banking system by a group of officers for years together by not putting the papers in core banking system and issuing forged letter of understanding for a prolonged period. This certainly exposes the chink in our banking system.
The trend our internal control system has exhibited in recent years in regulating financial offences and nabbing the culprit before they fled from our country just got repeated this time too. Even though intimated much before, even though they were given sufficient evidence, even though they were told about the anticipated move of the accused, yet they remain belted to their seats thereby offering enough scope for the culprits to sneak out of the country. Needless to say, they were waiting for signals from their political masters and the signal never came.
Be it the case of Lalit Modi Or Vijay Mallya, every time the internal control system looked to their political masters for signals to design, work and act. Be it ED or CBI or Ministry of Corporate affairs, most of them are autonomous units capable to take their own decision but they failed to raise themselves to the occasion and deliver when it mattered most. Their failure became more inglorious and they came to notice of the common public only when they failed, yes, they failed miserably. Now, the Choksis and Niravs only rubbed salt on their injuries. Take the case of enforcement agencies like CBI in recent past has failed to live up to the reputation in many cases like Arushi Talwar murder mystery, coal gate and 2G scam. Even SEBI has also failed to protect the interest of the investor in Satyam, Sahara and other chit fund scams. Even it has failed to act in Ketan Parekh Scam in 2001. Thus the first regulator of the country bears a tainted and deserted look among the investors even today.
This time they had information, they had time, and they knew the accused too but still they failed to keep the Niravs in the country. This has not only questioned the tenacity of the agencies to act quickly on the available information but also dented their reputation as a whole. Surely, a man will think twice before relying on the capacity of the agencies for feeding them with any input against any erring institution or individual. Yes, it is a shear loss of people’s confidence on the agencies’ ability.
It’s high time that our internal security and vigilante agencies understand that their credibility is at stake. They cannot be the agencies that do the scavenging only when the carcass is visible. They have to ensure that their prominence is visible in nabbing the culprit before a plan is hatched. As they are built and fed by the taxpayers, the internal vigilant system needs to be more transparent, accountable and robust in nature. Or else each time a new scam will appear hoodwinking the internal regulatory systems.
(DISCLAIMER: This is an opinion piece. The views expressed are author’s own and have nothing to do with OTV’s charter or views. OTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)