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J-K Bank Chairman Parvez Ahmad removed; R K Chibber appointed interim chief

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: June 8, 2019  | 23:03 IST

(Eds: Adding details) Srinagar, Jun 8 (PTI) In a surprise move, the Jammu and Kashmir government Saturday removed J&K Bank Chairman Parvez Ahmad, and Anti-Corruption Bureau carried out a raid at the lender's corporate office in connection with alleged fraudulent appointments. The government appointed the bank's executive president R K Chibber, as an interim chairman of the lender, and defended the decision to sack Ahmad, saying it was part of long term measures for improving functioning of the bank in accordance with the RBI guidelines. An official spokesman said keeping in view the concerns expressed in various quarters regarding the governance and functioning of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank, the government has decided to take long term measures to improve the functioning of the bank, so that it becomes a shining example of a well managed government-owned bank. "As a first step, the Government has decided to change its nominee Director on the Board of JK Bank, Parvez Ahmed, who is also the Chairman and Managing Director. Consequent to his replacement as a government appointed Director, the Board has taken on record cessation of Directorship of Parvez Ahmed as Chairman and Managing Director," the spokesman said. He said the government, which owns majority stake in the bank, has appointed Chibber as the government nominee on the Board and the Board subsequently approved his appointment as an Interim Chairman and managing director of the bank. "The government has also decided to constitute a search committee to identify a suitable panel of names for being appointed to the Board of Directors of JK Bank and subsequently for consideration as Managing Director of the Bank," the spokesman said. He said the JK Bank has also been directed repeatedly by the Reserve Bank of India to separate the positions of chairman and managing director for better governance. "The Government will be taking steps through the board of the bank for making necessary changes in its article of association/bye-laws with regard to posting of a separate chairman and a managing director with adequate safeguards in the functioning of the board to ensure high levels of financial probity, financial control, better risk management and oversight. "The Board of Directors in its meeting today has made necessary recommendation in this regard," he said. The spokesman said the government is committed to take necessary steps for making the Jammu and Kashmir Bank as one of the best performing bank in the country and accelerate economic growth in state of Jammu and Kashmir. Ahmad was appointed as the chairman of the bank in 2016. Within minutes of the government order, sleuths of Anti-Corruption Bureau -- previously known as State Vigilance Organisation -- raided the corporate headquarters of the bank situated at M A Road here. The Anti-Corruption Bureau was looking for the records of the nearly 1,200 appointments made allegedly during the previous PDP-BJP dispensation in the state during Ahmad's tenure as chairman of the bank. "Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Kashmir has registered a case under Prevention of Corruption Act on outcome of a written complaint received in ACB, headquarters, J&K, to look into the allegations related illegal/fraudulent appointments madein JK bank," a spokesman of the ACB said. He said since the allegations reflected in the complaint disclose commission of criminal misconduct by officers/officials of J&K Bank, which constitute offence under Prevention of Corruption Act, a case was registered and investigation was taken up. "Immediately after registration of FIR, searches of premises of Corporate Office J&K Bank head quarters (were conducted) and during search operations, documents/discriminatory material pertaining to the appointments were seized," the ACB spokesman said. He said further investigation is going on. Meanwhile, Ahmad said he had no regrets over the government decision and was open to scrutiny. "Absolutely no regrets. Did my job most diligently, honestly and in the best interest of the institution. Open to scrutiny on each and every transaction I have done during my two decades of functioning in the bank, the outgoing chairman said in a tweet. Welcoming the government decision, former IAS topper and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement president Shah Faesal said, it should take all measures to strengthen the bank and bring in transparency in the institution. "Good that J&K Government has started clean-up of J&K Bank. In recent times this important State institution has been in news for all the wrong reasons. Government should take all measures to strengthen the Bank, bring in transparency & continue with District-wise recruitment," Faesal tweeted. Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) president and former MLA from Langate constituency of north Kashmir's Kupwara district, Sheikh Abdul Rashid demanded a white paper on the dismissal of the chairman. "Though it is the prerogative of the government to transfer or post officers, but the intentions of the Government are creating suspense. The Government must come out with a white paper why it sacked J&K Bank chairman," Rashid said. He said Governor Satya Pal Malik had praised the chairman publicly on many occasions and the sudden decision of the government to sack the chairman needs immediate clarifications. The government must not forget that people are the stake and shareholders in J&K Bank and it is important that people should know the truth, he added. In November last year, the Governor-led State Administrative Council (SAC) had approved the proposal for treating Jammu and Kashmir Bank Limited as a public sector undertaking (PSU) and to make it accountable to the state legislature, inviting criticism from its employees, who took to the streets in protest. However, on December 4, last year, after days of protests from various quarters in the state, the governor said the government will re-examine the issue of accountability to legislature. PTI SSB MIJ BAL

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