Canara Bank Writes Off Rs1.29 Lakh Crore Bad Loans of Big Defaulters in 11 Years; Refuses To Share Names, Again!
Canara Bank, the country's fourth-largest public sector bank (PSB), continues to write off bad loans of big defaulters who have borrowed Rs100 crore and more. At the same time, the Bank refuses to share names of these big defaulters under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, again wrongly using Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.
Information shared by Canara Bank under RTI, with Pune-based activist Vivek Velankar, shows that during the past 11-year period from FY11-12 to FY21-22, the lender wrote off a total of Rs1,29,088 crore. 
What is quite strange is Canara Bank has used a common excuse—"Information sought is not maintained in the manner sought for"—for refusing to share information about the amount recovered from these big defaulters. What Mr Velankar had asked was, "Total amount of write offs done of the loan takers whose loans above Rs100 crore are technically written off during each financial year since 2013-14 till 2021-22."
The central public information officer (CPIO) of Canara Bank has used the same excuse for denying information on the amount recovered from borrowers with an outstanding of Rs1 crore and less. 
As per the RTI Act, the CPIO cannot use such excuses and must give specific reason as defined under 10 sub-sections of Section 8; under Section 9, which protects private copyright; under Section 11, which exempts third-party information relating to commercial and trade secrets and; under Section 24, which relates to public authorities dealing with security and intelligence. But more about it later.
Interestingly, when Mr Velankar asked Canara Bank to share the total amount written off for bad loans of Rs1 crore and less, the CPIO gave him information on total outstanding of such borrowers from FY11-12 to FY21-22. The reply shows that borrowers, who had taken a loan of Rs1 crore and below, owe Rs1,30,812.01 crore to Canara Bank over the past 11 years.
Figures for FY20-21 and FY21-22 are for the combined entity after Syndicate Bank's merger with Canara Bank. The merger took place in April 2020.
An aggrieved Mr Velankar, who is also president of the Sajag Nagrik Manch, asks, "When a common borrower defaults, the same banks publish his name and all details through advertisements in newspapers. Then, why do they want to keep names of big defaulters hidden under the privacy clause? Why doesn’t the 'privacy' clause apply while publicising names of common borrowers?" 
In the case of Canara Bank, the information on loan write-offs, recovery, and all other details like names of borrowers are collected and then reported to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) as statutory obligation. 
In his reply, the CPIO of Canara Bank stated, "Information sought is the personal information of the borrowers and its disclosure would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the concerned and which is exempted from disclosure under section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act."
Under Section 8 (1)(j), information which has been exempted is defined as:
"information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information:"
The phrase 'disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest' means that the information must have been given in the course of a public activity. There will only be a few exceptions to this rule, which might relate to information, which is obtained by a public authority while using extraordinary powers such as in the case of a raid or phone tapping.
A quick look at the annual report of 2020-21 of the central information commission (CIC) shows that 25,367 applications (47.38%) were rejected under Section 8 (1) of RTI Act, which spells out exemptions from disclosure of information in its 10 sub-sections. Central-level public authorities invoked this clause to reject 34.44% of the RTI applications in 2020-21—a marginal increase over the 2019-20 figure of 34.01%.
According to Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner (CIC) and RTI activist, misinterpretation of this clause continues unabated and this lesser percentage is serious enough to threaten the power of this transparency law. Mr Gandhi has been campaigning against the prolific use of Section 8 (1) (j) under the garb of protecting private information from being disseminated. 
He blames certain court judgements too, beginning from the Girish Ramchandra Deshpande vs Central Information Commissioner & others (2012) case, which have also given orders of exempting personal information from being provided. 
“Such judgments demean the spirit of the Section 8 1(j) exemption clause. In this clause, there is also a proviso, which says that information that cannot be denied to an elected representative, cannot be denied to the common man either. However, this vital proviso is totally ignored, thus diluting the transparency, slowly and steadily,’’ the former CIC says. (Read: Over 47% RTI Applications Rejected under Section 8(1) in FY20-21: CIC Annual Report )
Two years ago, Canara Bank had refused to share information on bad loans written off and instead asked Mr Velankar to check its annual reports. 
An analysis by Mr Velankar shows that during the past eight-year period from FY12-13 to FY19-20, Canara Bank wrote off a total of Rs47,310 crore while recovering just 19% or Rs8,901 crore from defaulters. (Read: Canara Bank: Rs47,310 Crore Write Off in 8 Years; Just 19% Recovery, Latest PSB Loot )
You may also want to read our exclusive coverage on bank loot
8 months ago
canara bank has used a circular no. 805/2021 for increasing its profits, and cheating its customers who have taken loan. when asked about the circular the bank responds with sec 8(1)(d). it will be great if moneylife unearths this mammoth fraud.
2 years ago
It seems the names are (in) famous, more than Mallayya anr Niraj. By not disclosure, Bank is actually protecting the officials responsible. It's intriguing that RBI and GOI has not initiated any action.
Replied to sankarankalady99 comment 2 years ago
Intriguing? The GoI is very much hand in glove with the defaulters
2 years ago
NPA loans of farmers like coffee,paddy,and various crop failures, natural disasters, heavy rain, drought,etc which made sm farmers default due .
Sm even lost thair lives fearing DRTA notice and recovery department notice ,for not affordable to keep advocates since all orders are single sided favouring banks allways.
Irrespective of small or big farmers..banks and governance sd keep farmers allways supporting bcoz he has not stopped working hard or feeding the nation unconditionally.
His products are earned tax by various value edition by industry.
So indirectly farmer is the route cause for all economy of the country.
We sd not think supporting farmers is waste of tax money.
Jai jawan jai kisan
2 years ago
I also received lots of information under RTI Act from RBI on ICICI Bank trying to hide NPAs. It is better to show the true picture than to try and hide it. That too using illegal unethical immoral means to hide NPA is loathsome. Please read the RTI disclosure by RBI and my observations as a senior Banker, insider to ICICI Bank's activities and as a whistleblower.
2 years ago
Mr. Yogesh, under similar circumstances ICICI Bank tried to avoid classifying loan accounts as NPA and tried every method available to avoid impairment. Canara Bank at least classified accounts as NPA and showed the correct picture to share holders. ICICI bank tried to dupe shareholders and public by falsifying the accounts by trying to show lower NPA. Please visit my posts on facebook to know more.

Showing NPAs is better than trying to hide them
2 years ago
Why to wave off keep pending till his death, and also don't give loan to his family member or take collateral property or gold as security (that to 50% of market value).
Replied to sandesh.dhumal2 comment 2 years ago
I also received lots of information under RTI Act from RBI on ICICI Bank trying to hide NPAs. It is better to show the true picture than to try and hide it. That too using illegal unethical immoral means to hide NPA is loathsome. Please read the RTI disclosure by RBI and my observations as a senior Banker, insider to ICICI Bank's activities and as a whistleblower.
2 years ago
Major portion of this write off must be of Adani Group & other crony capitalist friends of PM Modi......RTI is just an excuse to divulge these details to the public. Shame on the government and Canara bank management.
2 years ago
What I can't understand is why is no judge taking any suo moto action to question this daylight robbery of the nation's money ?
Replied to ashwerewolf comment 2 years ago
Hello My friend, this is not nation’s money. This is our money … we earn in the form of salaries… save it for future in form of deposits with banks….
This money is not given by Govt or PMO office to banks… to call it as nation’s money…..

A common man , an honest racer payer , if he defaults one single emi he is treated like a criminal… he is made to pay penalties and GST too on those penalties…
And the fraud bankers like these they are hand in hand partners in crimes with these so called Big defaulters….
Replied to a.ranade23 comment 2 years ago
Tax payer*
2 years ago
I have taken loans a few times but sadly my loan was never written off and the bank kept increasing the rate of interest despite it being fixed, think I should try Canara Bank now
Replied to robert2008g comment 2 years ago
You need to be a "big" borrower with links to the government
2 years ago
Remember, everything rolls up to backing from politicians, who, as per Constitution don't have much power but bureaucrats give them power to get the benefits of the droppings from the plate of politicians. What a disgraceful life all these people are living. They will pay for it definitely with their families being ruined due to the frauds done.
2 years ago
Public deposit their hard earned money in banks. Bank employees, especially top brass have free discretionary powers to lend public money for certain benefits for lending which is in-appropriate. Repeat of Mallya, Nirav Modi, Rana Kapoor, Wadhwan brother's and thousands more. Is there any action taken on the bank officials who were responsible for these loans and continuous re-structuring of loans. Make it clear to bank employees that they are liable for bad loans, from employee, spouse and children, India can save billions of dollars. I would feel ashamed to be the kid or spouse of these cheap bank officers
2 years ago
All these 420 banks only trouble prompt salaries class! Every lofer gets Scot free! Every banker is a big thief! Holding public money for ransom!
Replied to rmohan1910 comment 2 years ago
2 years ago
What about SBI which has highest NPA of more than Rs.5.00 lakh crores.
Adhani has loans upto Rs.4.00 lakh crores mainly from PSBs headed by SBI consortium.
2 years ago
Unless there are moles inside the Bank, such massive frauds are unlikely. It's time to arrest galloping corruption.
2 years ago
Some researchers have to find out as to who and how the bank gets power to write off such huge loans and supporting Laws and their legal validity.
Replied to kr.baskaran comment 2 years ago
Maximum loan defaulters are marwaris. Check history
Replied to debopriyoroy comment 2 years ago
Absolutely Gujjus.
Replied to debopriyoroy comment 2 years ago
Thatswhat marwaris are very silent wher ever u see evan in district places they will have manufacturing units. And big industries etc, bankars will harass for farming communiti people, and small business man.
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