The Central government has removed two Punjab National Bank (PNB) Executive Directors – Sanjiv Sharan and K Veera Brahmaji Rao – for the lapses in the Rs 13,500 crore fraud allegedly perpetrated by absconding diamantaire Nirav Modi.
The PNB has intimated the action to the stock exchanges on Friday.
“We welcome the Central government’s action to dismiss the two Executive Directors. The scam of such proportions could not have happened without the knowledge of the top management,” CH Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA), told IANS.
“Perhaps for the first time, the Centre has removed the Executive Directors of a nationalised bank under the Nationalised Banks (Management and Miscellaneous Provision) Scheme, 1970. All these days it was said the top management of government owned banks – Chairman, Managing Director, Executive Directors – are governed only by the contract of appointment.
“It is also good that the central government has followed the due process of giving the two PNB Executive Directors opportunity to put forth their views before dismissing them,” Venkatachalam added.
As per the Central government’s notification, on July 3, 2018, Sharan and Rao were issued a show cause notice as to why they could not be removed from office for having failed to exercise proper control over the functioning of PNB, thus enabling the fraud through the misuse of SWIFT at the bank’s Brady House branch in Mumbai.
After considering Sharan and Rao’s replies and the comments of the bank’s Board, the Centre removed them from office as it found it was expedient in the interests of PNB.
According to the notification, the dismissal of Rao is subject to the outcome of a plea in the Delhi High Court.
“We are happy to see some action being taken. Whether it is only the two Executive Directors and other officials are also involved in the scam has to be probed in full,” Venkatachalam said.
According to him, in the past, low-level officers would have been the scapegoats for such massive scams.
“With the action taken on the top management, people will be satisfied that public sector bank officials are answerable for their lapses,” Venkatachalam added.