The Jammu and Kashmir government on Saturday unceremoniously removed J&K Bank Chairman Parvez Ahmad Nengroo and appointed Rajesh Kumar Chibber as interim chairman of the state’s premier financial institution.
Hours after the Finance Department ordered immediate removal of Parvez Ahmad, sleuths of Anti-Corruption Bureau raided the bank’s Srinagar-based corporate headquarters including the office premises of the sacked chairman.
According to a senior Finance Department official, Chibber will hold the charge of interim Chairman till a search committee, to be constituted, will find the new Chairman for the bank.
Chibber was elevated as Executive President of the Bank in June 2018. He has served as Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Grameen Bank prior to his joining J&K Bank.
“The decision to remove Parvez was taken at a high level meeting as there was ‘grave allegation’ about the governance of the bank. The decision was vetted by the J&K Governor following which the Finance Department issued the order,” the official said.
“Parvez 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,” an order issued by Additional Secretary, Finance, Vishal Sharma said here.
It added that R K Chibber has been appointed as the interim Chairman and Director on the Board of Directors.
Chibber will replace Parvez Ahmad, who was appointed in 2016 as the Chairman of the bank.
“R K Chibber is hereby nominated as the Director on the Board and may be further appointed as the interim Chairman cum Managing Director of the Board,” it added.
The order said the directions shall come into effect immediately.
Pertinent to mention, Parvez was appointed as chairman and CEO of the bank in October 2016 for a three-year term.
J&K Bank has two Executive Directors, P K Tickoo and RK Chibber. Now one of them will be the interim Chairman of the bank.
The state government owns 59 per cent shares of J&K Bank.
This is the only private sector bank designated as the Reserve Bank of India’s agent for banking business and carries out the banking business of the Central government besides collecting central taxes for CBDT.
The bank was incorporated in 1938 and is listed on the NSE and the BSE.
Pertinently, in 2010, Omar Abdullah led government had asked then Chairman of the Bank HaseebDrabu to resign.
GOVERNMENT NOMINEE ON THE BOARD OF J&K BANK CHANGED
In an official statement issued by the information department, a government spokesperson stated that 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 J&K 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 Government has appointed R.K.Chibber, Executive President of JK Bank as the government nominee on the Board. The Board subsequently approved his appointment as an Interim Chairman and MD 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 J&K Bank and subsequently for consideration as Managing Director of the Bank.
“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,” it reads.
“The Government is committed to take necessary steps for making the Jammu and Kashmir Bank as one of the best performing banks in the country and accelerate economic growth in state of Jammu and Kashmir.”
ANTI-CORRUPTION BUREAU SLEUTHS RAID BANK HEADQUARTERS
After the removal of Parvez Ahmad as Chairman, sleuths of Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Saturday raided the financial institution’s corporate headquarters here, officials said.
According to official, “Vigilance Organization was looking for records of nearly 1,200 appointments allegedly made at the behest of political masters of the previous PDP-BJP government in the state and during Parvez’s tenure. They confiscated documents from HR department and chairman’s chamber.”
“All the entry and exit gates of the bank were sealed during the time sleuths were carrying raid in the bank. The records have been taken away by the vigilance sleuths for scrutiny,” official added.
Meanwhile, the Anti Corruption Bureau Kashmir in a statement said that it registered a case under Prevention of Corruption Act on a written complaint received by it alleging illegal/fraudulent appointments made in J&K Bank.
The statement said that since the allegations reflected in the complaint disclosed “commission of criminal misconduct by officers/officials of J&K bank, which constitute offence under section 5(1)(d) of Prevention of Corruption Act Samvat-2006 and punishable under section 5(2) of the Act, case FIR 10/2019 was registered in P/S Anti Corruption Bureau Central Kashmir Srinagar and investigation of the case was taken up.”
It said immediately after registration of FIR, searches of the premises of corporate office of the J&K Bank were conducted, and during search operations documents/material pertaining to the appointments were seized.
“Further investigation is going on,” the ACB said.
OPEN TO SCRUTINY ON EVERY TRANSACTION, SAYS PARVEZ AHMAD
Former chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Bank Parvez Ahmad on Saturday said he was “open to scrutiny” on every transaction during his tenure with the bank.
“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,” Parvez wrote on Twitter, hours after he was removed as the bank chairman.