The Jammu and Kashmir government on June 8 removed J&K Bank Chairman Parvez Ahmad and appointed its executive president R K Chibber as an interim chairman.
The government said it has decided to take long term measures to improve functioning of the bank so that it becomes an example of a well managed government-owned bank and Ahmad’s removal was the first step in that direction.
The outgoing chairman said he did his job most diligently and honestly and was open to scrutiny.
“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 earlier by Additional Secretary, Finance, Vishal Sharma said here.
It added that Chibber has been appointed as the interim chairman and director on the board of directors.
“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,” the order said.
The directions to replace Ahmad – who was appointed in 2016 as the chairman of the bank – shall come into effect immediately, Sharma said.
Within minutes of the government order, sleuths of state vigilance organisation raided the corporate headquarters of the bank situated at M A Road here, officials said.
The Vigilance Organisation was looking for the records of the nearly 1,200 appointments made during the previous PDP-BJP dispensation in the state during Ahmad’s tenure as chairman of the bank, the officials added.
Ahmad said he had no regrets over the government decision and was open to scrutiny.
“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,” the outgoing chairman said in a tweet.
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, an official spokesman said.
“As a first step, the Government has decided to change its nominee Director on the Board of JK 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 spokesperson said.
The government has also decided to constitute a search committee to identify a suitable panel of names to be appointed to the Board of Directors of JK Bank and subsequently for consideration as Managing Director of the lender.
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 spokesperson said.
“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,” he added.
The spokesman said the government is committed 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.
Welcoming the government decision, former IAS topper and Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement president Shah Faesal said, it should take all measures to strengthen the bank and bring in transparency in the institution.
“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.
Awami Ittehad Party (AIP) president and former MLA from Langate constituency of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district, Sheikh Abdul Rashid demanded a white paper on the dismissal of the chairman.
“Though it is the prerogative of the government to transfer or post officers, but the intentions of the Government are creating suspense. The Government must come out with a white paper why it sacked J&K Bank chairman,” Rashid said.
The government must not forget that people are the stake and shareholders in J&K Bank and it is important that people should know the truth, he added.
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) and to make it accountable to the state legislature, inviting criticism from its employees, who took to the streets in protest.
However, on December 4, last year, after days of protests from various quarters in the state, the governor said the government will re-examine the issue of accountability to legislature.