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Saturday 6 June 2020

CVC keeping retired bank officials on vigil to check their nexus with dubious customers

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New Delhi: Senior retired officials of government-controlled banks who were accused of corruption and faced no action have now come under the scanner of probity watchdog Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

The Commission has asked all public sector banks to report to it such matters of alleged impropriety by high-ranking officials, who are now not in service, so that action could be taken against them.

The move comes after the CVC noticed that some public sector banks did not consult it on cases of malpractice, thus allegedly helping a few top officers evade action.

The corruption watchdog needs to be consulted in two stages in vigilance cases– first stage advice (when an alleged misconduct is initially detected) and second stage advice (when a penalty has to be imposed on errant government employees).

In a recent directive by the CVC to all state-owned banks, the Commission said while examining references received from various public sector banks for advice, it had observed instances of non-consultation in matters of retired officers of Senior Management Grade Scale (SMGS-V) and above — that is, Regional Managers, Assistant General Managers, Deputy General Managers, General Managers, Executive Directors, Managing Directors and Chief Executive Officers.

Though the levels or categories of officers had been notified for referring cases for advice from the Commission, some public sector banks were not consulting the CVC in all matters involving vigilance or before initiating action under pension regulations of the respective banks, it said.

“It is clarified that the Commission is required to be consulted at the first stage as well as second stage, in matters of retired officers, i.e. officers of SMGS-V and above, as per the prescribed procedure when action is proposed to be initiated after retirement under the pension regulations too,” the CVC said.

The move assumes significance as central investigating agencies such as the CBI and the ED are looking into various big-ticket fraud cases in banks involving industrialists and others.

Among the prominent ones is the over Rs 13,000-crore fraud in Punjab National Bank (PNB) allegedly committed by jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems.

The CBI had recently also booked top officials of two public sector banks, a former CMD of the IDBI Bank, former Aircel promoter C Sivasankaran, his son and companies controlled by him in connection with an Rs 600-crore loan fraud in the IDBI.

The CBI has named 15 bank officials who worked at senior levels at the IDBI in 2010 and 2014 when loans were sanctioned to the companies controlled by Sivasankaran in its FIR registered on a complaint from the CVC.

Managing Director and CEO of Indian Bank Kishor Kharat (who was then MD and CEO of IDBI Bank) and his counterpart in Syndicate Bank Melwyn Rego (then Deputy Managing Director in IDBI Bank), along with then Chairman-cum-Managing Director of IDBI Bank M S Raghavan, have been named in the latest FIR filed by the CBI.

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