SRINAGAR, June 12: Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam today said that government was forced to remove the former Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Bank, Parvez Ahmad, due to repeated requests of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in view of governance issues.
Subrahmanyam told a news conference here at SKICC that RBI was extremely concerned about governance issues of the Bank. “Let us be very clear that we have not acted against Jammu and Kashmir Bank. The RBI gave us a letter saying that we are extremely concerned about governance issues in J&K Bank. These issues have been pending inspite of repeated requests of RBI and therefore we were forced to remove the CMD”, he said.
“I am saying this with full authority of the Governor that the Bank will be protected, it will be made a shining bank. It will be run by people of Jammu and Kashmir, we are interested that it becomes an internationally renowned bank. It should get branches all over the world — London, Singapore, Dubai, etc. But be bank first and a bank last. Please wait for three months and you will see results flowing out of J&K Bank”, he said.
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The Chief Secretary said that search committee of top bankers of the country have been formed to look for a Chairman of the Bank. “We have appointed an interim CMD from the hierarchy of the bank. We will have a search committee, with two to three eminent persons on it to chose good persons for appointment as Chairman and Managing Director”, he said.
Subrahmanyam described J&K Bank shining crown of the State and said that it will be restored to its glory. “The J&K Bank is the shining crown of this State. Therefore, it is important that this bank regains this glory. You have heard about the ACB raids. There were some old complaints about irregularities and appointments. It is not about the appointments that the Governor talked about. They were boys and girls who qualified an exam and were in waiting list. They were then appointed”, he said.
The Chief Secretary said that people were being employed in J&K Bank on the recommendations of politicians. “J&K Bank has a registry. All of them know on whose recommendations people were being appointed. There are written papers which say bring a recommendation and you will get the job. It was called CSR”, he said.
“How can you appoint people under CSR in a Bank? It can be done in a Government. A bank is not fundamentally an employment agency. A bank is first and foremost a bank. A bank is the custodian of people’s money and Government money. Primary responsibility of the bank is to take care of the money. It is not a charitable institution, it is a misnomer. That is the fundamental objective from which the (J&K) Bank had moved away”, he said.
Chief Secretary came down heavily on Bank management for spending Rs 50 crore on Golf Course. “On Golf Courses, J&K Bank has spend Rs 50 crores under CSR. My Government gives it (J&K Bank) Rs 500 crore last year as capital subsidy. A Bank which requires Government money to remain operational, does it have business to spend Rs 50 crore on Golf Courses where less than a 1000 people play. That is an elite sport. There are people in disagreement with at the top. Go and ask the people in downtown, go and ask them how many of them play in Golf Courses”, he said.
Subrahmanyam said bank is living on Government money and such spendings are unacceptable. “It is unacceptable for a bank. If the bank had a Rs 2000 crore profit, no question. It is living on Government money”, he said.
“The bank has no choice but to be under RTI as it is a Government owned bank. It is registered under the Companies Act as a Government company. By the end of June, the bank will be brought under the RTI and CVC guidelines”, he said.
Subrahmanyam said that there is zero tolerance towards corruption and ACB is as powerful as CBI.
“There are number of issues on which fact finding committees are looking at. They will give reports this month and we will take further action. This is extremely important. Our ACB today is as powerful as CBI. We have amended the Act in December to this effect. We cannot take action against anyone with a toothless body. The lion needs teeth, that is what we have done. ACB is a very very empowered body. There is going to be zero tolerance for corruption. Those who have done something wrong, they are going to face consequences, whether they are small or big”, he said.