Bank of Maharashtra chief’s arrest unwarranted, says bankers’ body
The Indian Banks’ Association sought government’s help to form a committee that will give clearance to initiate criminal proceedings against senior executives.
The Indian Banks’ Association on Friday condemned the arrest of Bank of Maharashtra chief and other officials in Pune for allegedly misusing their powers and colluding with real estate developer DS Kulkarni.
On Wednesday, the Economic Offences Wing of the Pune Police arrested six people – including the bank’s CEO Ravindra Marathe and Executive Director Rajendra Gupta – under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
“All bankers unanimously expressed anguish and concern for what has transpired for bona fide decisions taken in discharge of official duties,” said VG Kannan, chief executive officer, Indian Banks’ Association, according to Mint. “Senior officials of banks have been arrested for criminal conspiracy and in violation of Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors in Financial Establishment Act, 1999, which is not applicable to banks. Bankers are not concerned with activity of taking and repayment of deposits by companies and hence the arrest is unwarranted.”
Bankers have sought the government’s help to form a committee comprising representatives from both the government and the Reserve Bank of India, and retired bankers. The committee will give clearance to initiate criminal proceedings against senior executives of banks to ensure smooth functioning of banking industry, Kannan said, according to Moneycontrol.
“The entire banking community is with the BoM management and the IBA has decided to approach the highest authority,” he said, adding that simultaneous investigations by different authorities has hurt the decision-making of bankers.
In May, the Pune Police had filed a 37,000-page chargesheet against Kulkarni and his wife. They were accused of floating nine different firms to collect funds from 33,000 investors and fixed-deposit holders. The Kulkarnis were arrested from Delhi in February.
“As part of our probe into the cheating case against Kulkarni, it came to light that these bank officials colluded with DS Kulkarni Developers Ltd by misusing their powers and authority with dishonest and fraudulent intention to sanction and disburse the amount under the garb of a loan,” Sudhir Hiremath, deputy commissioner of police (Cyber and Economic Offences), had said on Wednesday.