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Standard format for reporting bank fraud cases on anvil


New Delhi:  The RBI, banks and law enforcement agencies are working on a standard reporting format for banks to share investigation-related information after central agencies like IB and CBI complained about receiving data in different formats making deciphering difficult.

The intelligence and probe agencies have been raising the issue and emphasising on having a standardised format for sharing of information by the banks, official sources said.

The banks provide data in various file formats making it difficult for the agencies to process and analyse the information. The processing of multi-format data also results in wastage of manpower and time, they said.

“Information received from the banks are highly unstructured which makes mining of data contained in the statements very difficult. They also use different narrations for debit and credit entries which are sometimes very cryptic in nature, making it difficult to decipher the nature of transactions and hence the money trail,” an official said.

The IB and CBI officials have also been complaining about the absence of nodal officers in various banks which delayed getting information on time, they said.

The banks have been resisting a uniform reporting format citing technical problems in their software.

The issue was raised by the IB, CBI and Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) officials during a meeting of Economic Intelligence Council headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley following which the matter was taken up with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the sources said.

Now, the RBI, representatives of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) and the law enforcement agencies have begun working on a standard reporting format.

The central bank also issued a circular last month asking banks to establish a nodal point or officer for filing all complaints with the law enforcement agencies and serve as the single point for coordination, sources said.

A number of cases relating to bank frauds worth crores of rupees are being probed by the central and state law enforcement agencies.

“Availability of information at the right time in an easy-to-decipher format will help the agencies in a big way to complete their investigation in time,” an official said.

Public sector banks had reported over 2,166 fraud cases involving a sum of Rs 11,022 crore between April and December last year.

During 2013-14, 2,593 such cases involving Rs 7,541 crore were reported, according to an official information.

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