ISLAMABAD - While their plausibility is still under debate, the rental power projects have already started plaguing Pakistans banking sector with the first victim being the state-owned National Bank of Pakistan (NBP). The most vulnerable of the eight banks consortium financing the RPPs is the NBP that has already released Rs 9 billion to four RPPs, despite its non-performing loans nearing Rs 100 billion mark. According to well-placed sources, the NBPs non-performing or dud loans are on the rise, eroding the strength of the bank having assets of nearly Rs 600 billion as compared to Rs 96 billion NPL. The sources told TheNation that Masood Karim Sheikh, who was working as head of Corporate and Investment Banking in NBP next to President Ali Raza, was forced to resign last week for resisting the release of funds to the vague deals of RPPs. NBP President Ali Raza who is real brother of Governor State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Saleem Raza, was not available for comments despite frequents efforts on the part of TheNation. Earlier, sources told TheNation that the consortium of eight banks was supposed to make payments to the RPPs without any sound collateral assurances. We are paying to the RPPs on behalf of the Water and Power Development Authoritys commitment and the guarantee of the federal government, a senior banker dealing with such payments told TheNation on condition of anonymity. The sources further informed TheNation that the contracts to bring in rental power plants for five years were awarded on a self-styled 'first come first served basis, in a clear deviation from the universal procedures of such contracts awards. The sources pointed out that the government has introduced this policy on massive concessions to the RPPs that were meant for only five years. Whether we would be again in dark after five years with our banking sector bleeding its liquidity is still an unanswered question, the sources added. According to the sources, the used power plants being imported from China were not in good shape to ensure continuous supply of power even if all of them were appropriately installed. The contractors, who are also entitled to three years tax concessions, were overpricing these used power plants, which were available at a price ranging from $10 to 12 million each. The sources quoting independent estimates told TheNation that these RPPs would be paid $50 million.