ISLAMABAD The Supreme Court on Wednesday observed that responsibility of writing off billions of rupees loans lay on the shoulders of the State Bank (SBP) causing heavy loss to the national exchequer. A three-member bench of the apex court comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Pervez and Justice Ghulam Rabbani was hearing a suo moto case of written off loans amounting to hefty Rs54 billion. Prima facie the responsibility lies on the shoulders of the State Bank as according to Circular 13, no loan could be waived off without the approval of the State Bank , the chief justice remarked. Iqbal Haider, counsel for SBP, informed that since 1971 to December 2009 Rs256 billion loans were written off. Salman Akram Raja, who was representing private banks told the court that 80 per cent loans of the total amount were s waived off after 1999 and onwards. The court observed that Circular 29 of the SBP, on the basis of which huge amount of loans were extended to the borrowers, who later got their loans written off, is contrary to the Section 33-B of the Banking Companies Ordinance 1969, as the section did not confer authority to State Bank to write off loans. The SBP was directed to file details of at least 10 cases of written off loans from each year during the period, which did not meet the two conditions set in section 33-B of the Banking Companies Ordinance which were pre-requisites for writing off loans. We are only interested that the wealth of this country should come to this nation, the CJP observed asking the SBP counsel to submit details of at least ten case wherein violation regarding writing off loans have been made. The court observed that it would look into the State Bank Circular 29 regarding writing off loans in view of Article 25 of the Constitution. Syed Iqbal Haider argued that State Bank of Pakistan writes off loans or gives any direction to the banks to waive off loans, but issues guidelines to do so. He contended that the establishment had promoted the culture of defaulters. To this the CJP asked, What you mean establishment, you mean bureaucracy? No the elites of this country, Haider replied, adding in electoral laws, members of the Parliament are not permitted (to contest elections) if they are bank defaulters. He further contended that it was the responsibility of the Finance Department to make laws pertaining to the subject. Iqbal Haider repeatedly requested the court to order constitution of a commission to probe the matter, however, the court rejected his request and asked him to provide details of at least ten cases wherein violation has been made regarding writing off loans. The Chief Justice observed that the economy of this country was looted by writing off loans. Wealth of this country should come to this nation and its our main objective, the CJP observed. Justice Tariq Pervez asked the counsel as to whether the SBP had taken any action against the bank defaulters for violation of prudential requirements. You have not only extended facilities of writing off loans to individuals but also caused severe debt loss to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), the CJP remarked adding that it was the game of influential persons while the SBP did whatever it wanted. The court further ruled that the case had been before the court for two years, however, no borrower had come forward claiming that he got written off loans, the only reason is that they secured their interest and now managing their business. The case was adjourned till October 20.