On allegations and mere suspicions!
It sounds a bit odd and discomforting?

Sikka Sharma

Sikka Sharma

Yes, it is a sort of news you don’t expect in normal course of business. And in a business like banking, that too high profile banking, you need much discretion and discrete actions. Not you announce in the media that too by such sensitive agencies like these ones.

This time, there has been lots of news where the much feared CBI and the ED  are at a relentless pursuit of the corrupt and the  illegal activities of the rich and the powerful.

Only in India we seem to be obsessed with the rich and the powerful. The humble and the marginalised lot, say, the farmers never make it to the front pages unless there is a sort of large scale suicides. This too sometimes happen and unfortunately, lately, we have come to be reconciled with this reality of the countryside too. So, the poor really make for front pages.

AS WE WRITE THE LARGE SCALE PROTESTS OVER THE SUPPOSED OR SUSPECT
dilution of the SC/ST prevention of atrocities act are competing for front page news or prime time news on the TV screens.
Yes, suddenly put of the blue, it seemed, the two otherwise fine banks, private sector banks at that, run by two high profile and well-regarded and efficient banks with all the modern styles of management and prompt services banks came in to scrutiny.

What surprised the public as we see is the sort of overseeing by the apex bank, namely the Reserve Bank of India? Only recently we felt compelled to comment on the sort of arguments that went on between the Finance Ministry and the RBI over their own responsibility in supervising and controlling the management of the PSU banks.

One PSU bank, the second in the set of the PSU banks, went on to report cheating and large scale looting of public funds, tax payers money and deposits by one big, any two diamond merchants running to the tune of Rs.15, 000, or nearly to this much of funds spirited away and the t duo left the country to avoid action by the CBI and the ED.

What the government did b y way of prompt action?
The Board of Directors of this large PSU remains in place and everything goes on as if nothing had happened?
It this the way a government functions? Only the public wondered and otherwise no one raised any counter voice!

Is there fear in the system, in the country, among the general public?

It is for readers, experts and others to respond and give some light to the otherwise dark passages!
Now in the case of the ICICI and the Axis Bank there are reports of some irregularities.

But then, the counter arguments in the public domain and also from the regulatory regime, the very many agencies and the experts who appeared at the TV debates is that, yes, there looks to be some deviations, the CEO and MD’s family members are beneficiaries and if so the concerned official should have rescued herself so that the alleged conflict of interest could have been avoided. But then there again counter arguments for this. First, already the allegations had been made and the RBI had already probed the ICIC’s Bank loan to v Videocon Group in 2016.

Much more than these technical and subtle issues of good governance at the bank, is the public perception that the Board of Directors of this big private bank had probed the allegation and came out with a clean chit.

Axis Bank had thrived under Sikka Sharma for the last 10 years and had made a mark retail base and won laurels.
Normally, a private bank or business must be left with freedom within reasonable limits. Why the CBI comes in?

Some government agency must have promoted it?
It seems so?
Then the question arises why  the RBI is silent? The finance ministry is silent?

For those matters, so many other regulatory agencies are also silent?
The public would ask such questions. It is not the government that should be doing the work of other regulatory agencies, right?

Anyway, also two high profile ladies whose reputations are hit.
It is no good for the society to be informed of such drastic public exposure to a charge that is yet to be proved.

By looking at it from the public interest point of view that the exposure in such a highly sensational manner is not good for anybody’s interest. The trust and confidence and much else seem to be hurt in a manner that is unlikely to go away so easily.  Private business must thrive in an open and trustful manner. Doing business must be an honest pursuit. Too much intrusion into one’s freedoms is no trait of a liberal and open society.

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