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 removalof Parvez Ahmad, sleuths of Anti-Corruption Bureau raided the bank'sSrinagar-based corporate headquarters including the office premises of thesacked chairman.
According to a senior Finance Department official, Chibberwill hold the charge of interim Chairman till a search committee, to beconstituted, will find the new Chairman for the bank.
Chibber was elevated as Executive President of the Bank inJune 2018. He has served as Chairman Jammu and Kashmir Grameen Bank prior tohis joining J&K Bank.
"The decision to remove Parvez was taken at a high levelmeeting as there was 'grave allegation' about the governance of the bank. Thedecision was vetted by the J&K Governor following which the FinanceDepartment issued the order," the official said.
"Parvez Ahmad, Chairman cum Managing Director, shallcease to be Director on the Board of Directors of the Bank and consequently beno longer the Chairman cum Managing Director of the board," an orderissued by Additional Secretary, Finance, Vishal Sharma said here.
It added that R K Chibber has been appointed as the interimChairman and Director on the Board of Directors.
Chibber will replace Parvez Ahmad, who was appointed in 2016as the Chairman of the bank.
"R K Chibber is hereby nominated as the Director on theBoard and may be further appointed as the interim Chairman cum ManagingDirector of the Board," it added.
The order said the directions shall come into effectimmediately.
Pertinent to mention, Parvez was appointed as chairman andCEO of the bank in October 2016 for a three-year term.
J&K Bank has two Executive Directors, P K Tickoo and RKChibber. Now one of them will be the interim Chairman of the bank.
The state government owns 59 per cent shares of J&KBank.
This is the only private sector bank designated as theReserve Bank of India's agent for banking business and carries out the bankingbusiness of the Central government besides collecting central taxes for CBDT.
The bank was incorporated in 1938 and is listed on the NSEand the BSE.
Pertinently, in 2010, Omar Abdullah led government had askedthen Chairman of the Bank HaseebDrabu to resign.
GOVERNMENT NOMINEE ON THE BOARD OF J&K BANK CHANGED
In an official statement issued by the informationdepartment, a government spokesperson stated that keeping in view the concernsexpressed in various quarters regarding the governance and functioning of theJammu and Kashmir Bank, the Government has decided to take long term measuresto improve the functioning of the Bank, so that it becomes a shining example ofa well managed Government Owned Bank.
"As a first step, the Government has decided to change itsnominee Director on the Board of J&K Bank, Parvez Ahmed, who is also theChairman and Managing Director. Consequent to his replacement as a government appointed Director, theBoard has taken on record cessation of Directorship of Parvez Ahmed as Chairmanand Managing Director."
"The Government has appointed R.K.Chibber, ExecutivePresident of JK Bank as the government nominee on the Board. The Board subsequently approved hisappointment as an Interim Chairman and MD of the Bank.
"The Government has also decided to constitute a SearchCommittee to identify a suitable panel of names for being appointed to theBoard of Directors of J&K Bank and subsequently for consideration asManaging Director of the Bank.
"The JK Bank has also been directed repeatedly by theReserve Bank of India to separate the positions of Chairman and ManagingDirector for better governance. TheGovernment will be taking steps through the Board of the Bank for makingnecessary changes in its Article of Association/Bye-laws with regard to postingof a separate Chairman and a Managing Director with adequate safeguards in thefunctioning of the Board to ensure high levels of financial probity, financialcontrol, better risk management and oversight. The Board of Directors in itsmeeting today has made necessary recommendation in this regard," it reads.
"The Government iscommitted to take necessary steps for making the Jammu and Kashmir Bank as oneof the best performing banks in the country and accelerate economic growth instate of Jammu and Kashmir."
ANTI-CORRUPTIONBUREAU SLEUTHS RAID BANK HEADQUARTERS
After the removal of Parvez Ahmad as Chairman, sleuths ofAnti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Saturday raided the financial institution's corporateheadquarters here, officials said.
According to official, "Vigilance Organization was lookingfor records of nearly 1,200 appointments allegedly made at the behest ofpolitical masters of the previous PDP-BJP government in the state and duringParvez's tenure. They confiscated documents from HR department and chairman'schamber."
"All the entry and exit gates of the bank were sealed duringthe time sleuths were carrying raid in the bank. The records have been takenaway by the vigilance sleuths for scrutiny," official added.
Meanwhile, the Anti Corruption Bureau Kashmir in a statementsaid that it registered a case under Prevention of Corruption Act on a writtencomplaint received by it alleging illegal/fraudulent appointments made inJ&K Bank.
The statement said that since the allegations reflected inthe complaint disclosed "commission of criminal misconduct byofficers/officials of J&K bank, which constitute offence under section5(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 AntiCorruption Bureau Central Kashmir Srinagar and investigation of the case wastaken up."
It said immediately after registration of FIR, searches ofthe premises of corporate office of the J&K Bank were conducted, and duringsearch operations documents/material pertaining to the appointments wereseized.
"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 onSaturday said he was "open to scrutiny" on every transaction during his tenurewith the bank.
"Absolutely noregrets. Did my job most diligently, honestly and in the best interest of theinstitution. Open to scrutiny on each and every transaction I have done duringmy two decades of functioning in the bank," Parvez wrote on Twitter, hoursafter he was removed as the bank chairman.