Allaying the fear of ‘three Cs’—country’s three prominent agencies- Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) and Comptroller and Audit General (CAG)—Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday assured the heads of the PSBs that their prudent commercial decision making would be protected.

During the meeting, the minister observed that in the past there had been concerns and worries among bank officials about investigating agencies hence impacting bonafide decisions.

“No case whatsoever, involving the banks goes to CBI without the banks themselves deciding to send it here. There is no suo moto case that the CBI takes against the bank. So, let’s be very clear in the understanding that banks have an internal committee, which look at fraudulent practices in certain accounts or certain cases and they have well-defined protocol for it,” Sitharaman said after meeting with the public sector banks (PSBs).

“When banks’ internal committee decide only then it goes for information to the Reserve Bank. Post that it gets referred to the CBI. And these are for Rs 3 crore or more suspicious fraudulent cases,” she added.

During the meeting, it was decided that the CBI would develop such a mechanism on the lines of Income Tax department to send notices or along with a registration number to avoid any scope of unauthorized communication and consequent harassment.

While investigating a fraud case, the agency shall be sensitive to the distinction between a bonafide decision and criminal involvement.

“It was also noted that there is a need for preserving the value of the business enterprise by treating it on a separate footing from culpability of individuals, if any,” a statement released by the Finance Ministry said.

To strengthen the forensic auditor empanelment process, a couple of meetings and workshops with bank officials will also be held in the next few months to explain various confusions and misgivings.

Also, a dedicated phone number would soon be created on which any person could give information regarding any harassment by the investigative agency.

(With input from agencies)