Srinagar: The anti-corruption bureau (ACB) of the Jammu and Kashmir state administration continued its raids at the J&K Bank’s Srinagar headquarters on the second day Sunday.
The bureau is probing alleged illegal and fraudulent appointments made in the institution during the tenure of the previous BJP-PDP government.
The state administration had Saturday sacked Pervez Ahmad Nengroo, chairman and managing director of J&K Bank in connection with the case, replacing him with R.K. Chhibber, the bank’s executive director.
Following Nengroo’s sacking, ACB officials carried out raids at J&K bank’s M.A. Road headquarters in Srinagar looking for records of nearly 1,200 appointments allegedly made when he was at the helm of the bank.
Nengroo was appointed as chairman and CEO of the bank in October 2016 when the PDP-BJP coalition government was in power in the state. His three-year term was due to end in four months.
The order to remove Nengroo was issued by the additional secretary of the J&K government’s finance department, Vishal Sharma. “Mr Pervez Ahmad, Chairman cum Managing Director shall cease to be director on the Board of Directors of the Bank and consequently be no longer the Chairman cum Managing Director of the Board,” the order read.
Steps necessary to clean up bank: Administration
The state administration said the move was part of its commitment 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 the state”.
It further said that J&K Bank has been repeatedly directed 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 government statement read.
The J&K bank, considered to be the state’s most important financial institution, was incorporated on 1 October 1938 — the first state–owned bank.
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), the decision which was criticised by top Valley based politicians across party lines.
The removal of Nengroo, however, has garnered mixed reactions.
Peoples Conference chief and former ally in BJP-PDP government Sajad Lone took to Twitter after the move. “Banks r driven by market sentiment. And Run on the banks is usually witnessed after such blatantly non- banking measures,” Lone tweeted. “JK bank has the sentiments of the inhabitants our state firmly embedded. Otherwise it could have been a disaster. Let us hope issues r resolved m corporately.”
Banks r driven by market sentiment. And Run on the banks is usually witnessed after such blatantly non- banking measures. JK bank has the sentiments of the inhabitants our state firmly embedded. Otherwise it could have been a disaster. Let us hope issues r resolved m corporately.
— Sajad Lone (@sajadlone) June 8, 2019
IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal, however, backed the move.
“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.