Mumbai: Banks have found "a few hundred" cases among the 3.47 crore farmer beneficiaries where undue benefits were given under the agricultural debt waiver package, a senior government official has said.
"They (banks) have discovered a few cases where benefits were given to people when they should not have got. When I say few, I mean few. In 3.47 crore cases if there is a few hundred cases I don't think it’s too much," Department of Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Takru said here over the weekend.
He said the recovery proceedings have already started in such cases and some banks have already recovered dues from some illegal beneficiaries, while in others, further action is on.
Following the CAG report, which found some irregularities in the over Rs 56,000-crore agri loan debt waiver scheme of 2008-09, the Reserve Bank had asked all the banks to conduct an audit by checking each case individually.
The banks are to submit reports of the audits by June 30 and the Finance Ministry, which discussed the matter with the bank chiefs last week, is satisfied with the progress, Takru said.
The secretary said the strictest actions would be taken against the errant officials in the matter. "Employees will pay a price and the Chartered Accountants will also pay a price," he said.
Takru said banks have been instructed to issue showcause notices to the errant officers and employees, under whose supervision waivers were given to the undeserving beneficiaries, by June 30.
A pre-audit of a case was essential before being granted the benefit and hence, action will also be taken against the Chartered Accountants who vetted such cases, he added.
"The banks have been told that all the chartered accountants who had duly certified these false/wrong cases, should be given a showcause notice and thereafter, after a reply is received from them, these cases must be referred to the ICAI, who I have already spoken to and told them that I would expect to see some licences getting cancelled," Takru said.