Rot in J&K Bank is getting exposed now
By Sant Kumar Sharma
Jammu, October 21, 2019:
In July-end last year, some friends expressed worries about the then prevalent rot in J&K Bank. They expressed worries that the Bank was going down under. Due to a number of factors, particularly big loans given without sufficient or adequate collaterals.
Incidentally, the dismissed Chairman (dismissed on June 8, 2019) tried to project a holier than thou image of himself. The Bank too, to an extent. He would stay in the Bank presmises located at Dal Gate, Srinagar, till the wee hours so often. This used to create a typical problem for the staff as they could not leave for homes till the Chairman left the office.
In 2018, the J&K Bank staff had salary deduction of six days in July on Eid eve, and of three days in November. The July deduction was ostensibly to help “Kerala flood victims” and the November deductions were to help “Kashmiri horticulturists”.
In a Facebook post, the “six days’ salary cut” was termed by me as “dictatorial donation”. I pointed out certain facts like not adhering to KYC norms etc by the Bank.
The Bank management, and unions of the Bank, claimed that these statements made by me were “false”. They also threatened that defamation suits will be filed against me. I told them to go ahead.
In due course, the Bank filed a defamation suit of Rs 5 crore against me. The Bank gave a court fee of Rs 75,000 for the suit, and must have spent good money on related due diligence in legal procedures.
The case is being contested in the court, and the Bank counsel seems to be in no hurry to hasten proceedings. Most of the statements made in the FB post have been proved TRUE.
REI Agro loan scandal is now being probed by Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB). Of course, some Bank officials and it’s accounts are subject of National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe also. More beans may spill out in due course of time.
So far, details of the Bank’s loans to IL&FS, and these loans becoming stressed accounts, and may be NPAs (Non Performing Assets) have not come out in the open. Apparently, the Bank has not disclosed the full extent of its NPAs have not been shared with the regulators and investigating agencies. So far, a lot remains away from the prying eyes.
If it were a private bank, by now there would have been a meltdown perhaps. Or a huge hue and cry for the goings-on.
The Bank had contributed to the Kerala flood victims SIX DAYS salary of all employees. It’s Chairman and members of the board of directors had also contributed to the efforts.
The number of those who had died in Kerala was less than 500. The extent of devastation was far less than what had happened in Kedarnath a couple of years ago in which over 5,700 people had died. Incidentally, the Bank had not contributed a penny to the Kedarnath tragedy victims though it’s profits had then been shown as Rs 1,050 crore.
In 2018, the Bank profit had come down substantially and was shown as Rs 250 crore. This too after the J&K government had contributed Rs 550 crore to keep it afloat. It was all a “window dressing”, according to insiders.
Not only that, junior management at the level of branches had been pressured into mobilising funds from customers, and account holders, to contribute to the cause. Here was the Bank staff involved in mobilising “donations” even as top men were busy in violating every civilised norm of banking. Defalcating funds from different heads.
Some Bank staff had visited me in person and given three legal notices. Their behaviour was less than friendly and they have been party in the court case for claiming Rs 5 crore as cost of defamation. The uncouth behaviour of the unions needs to be punished.
There entire correspondence will have to be handed over to ACB, RBI and NIA. They were equally complicit in efforts to intimidate and cause mental harassment.
These documents will also be handed over to Financial Commissioner of Finance Department of the state government. As also worthy Governor S P Malik.
There will be all the time in the world to pursue these cases over the next six months. As all senior Bank officials and others move to Jammu in a couple of days.
In due course of time, court cases, counter-cases, for backing falsehoods will need to be filled against them. Discussions with some lawyer friends will decide who all have to be made parties in the case.
Those who can, please SHARE.
SO THAT IT GETS WIDER PUBLICITY as to how intimidating tactics were used by sacked Chairman. Those who were in cahoots with him.
PS: The Bank had also filed a defamation suit of Rs 5 crore against RTI activist and friend, Raja Mizaffar Bhat. For writing an article which was critical of thr Bank’s management practices. Apparently, the Bank wanted to turn profitable by filing frivolous defamation cases!