New Delhi, March 10: The Finance Ministry on Saturday said that passport details of borrowers taking loans of Rs 50 crore and more have been mandatory to ensure a swift action against fraudsters.  The decision has been taken following the detection of Rs 12,636 crore fraud at state-run Punjab National Bank.

Taking to micro-blogging site Twitter, Rajiv Kumar, secretary, department of financial services wrote,”Next step on clean and responsible banking. Passport details must for loans above Rs 50 crore. Step to ensure quick response in case of fraud.” (Also read: ICICI’s Chanda Kochhar, Axis Bank’s Shikha Sharma Summoned by SFIO)

Kumar further said that this is a preventive step to avoid flight of economic offenders and banks to collect passport details of all new borrowers of loans in excess of Rs 50 crore. “For all existing loans of over Rs 50 crore, banks have been asked to collect passport details of borrowers within 45 days”, he added.

The decision has been taken nearly a week after the Cabinet  approved the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill after Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi allegedly defrauded state-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) of Rs 12, 636 crore.

Notably, in absence of passport details, banks are struggling hard in taking timely action against big defaulters like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijay Mallya and Jatin Mehta who have fled the country, putting the recovery mechanism in quandary.

(With inputs from agencies)