Crisis-hit lender Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Wednesday launched applications to hire detective agencies to “significantly supplement efforts of its officials in recovering dues”.
These detectives will help the bank locate borrowers, co-borrowers, guarantors in and outside India, including their legal heirs who are either untraceable or not available at the addresses given in the bank’s records, according to an advertisement uploaded on the bank’s website.
The detective agency must ascertain the latest information about defaulting borrowers present addresses, occupations, business, income streams, details of their all assets, whether charged or uncharged, their location (whether in India or abroad), value and ownership, etc.; give details of bank accounts and credit facilities availed by the defaulting borrowers including their legal heirs.
They also want to confirm the present state of ownership of the secured assets of defaulting borrowers by personal visits or market report by duly confirmed by the documents and gather any other information which the bank cannot access by utilising normal channels like CIBIL or internet or local enquiries and which may be considered necessary by the bank for the recovery of the bank's dues.
PNB has also given the eligibility criteria for allocation of accounts to detective agencies, "All NPA accounts under any category i.e. sub-standard, doubtful and loss category (whether non-suit filed, suit filed or decreed) shall be covered by the policy in which engagement of detective agency seemed appropriate, as per the requirement.”
Investigating authorities have accuse diamond merchants Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of masterminding the country's biggest banking sector scam – estimated at Rs 13,000 crore – at the Brady House branch of PNB by using fake guarantees.
Both Modi and Choksi are absconding and are said to be outside India.
After the scam, the fraud hit bank has taken an aggressive stand towards willful defaulters by impounding 150 passports and lodging 37 FIRs.
But industry experts said that government-run banks aren’t as aggressive compared to private banks, which hire investigators at the first sign of trouble.
A number of banks earlier have sought help of detective agencies with their assets recovery divisions.