More than 1,400 employees of the bank were transferred.
Bank unions have questioned the sudden mass transfers of 1,400 employees by Punjab National Bank in the wake of the Rs 12,700-crore 'NiMoNia' fraud uncovered last month without any action on the senior management.
After the Delhi-based bank disclosed that two of its junior officials connived with two corporate groups – Nirav Modi-led three firms and his uncle Mehul Chokshi’s Gitanjali group - it was alleged the employees remained in the same position, and the same branch, for a very long time in violation of the human resources (HR) policy.
Hence, as a fallout of the fraud, PNB transferred 1,415 employees. “…the Bank has transferred 257 sub staff, 437 clerks and 721 officers (total 1,415 employees) since February 19, 2018, as per the prevailing Rotational Transfer Policy of the Bank,” the government-owned bank said in a statement.
Blaming the decision of non-transfer of senior officials, CH Venkatachalam, General Secretary, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA), said, “So many vigilance angles were neglected, supervisions and audits have failed to notice this fraud... The top executive is answerable on why the junior official was not transferred for a long time.”
Calling it an over-reaction, Venkatachalam said: “Why not drop senior officials or transfer them? The punishment given to junior officials is in a state of panic. Why this over reaction?”
In a letter to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on behalf of the Unions, he has suggested, “…a tripartite meeting of the Finance Ministry, Indian Banks Association/Bank managements and Apex Bank Unions (UFBU) be convened immediately under your personal guidance so that concrete and concerted measures are taken towards the same.”
In an after effect of the scam, Central Vigilance Committee (CVC) has issued a notification to all banks across the country to transfer employees who have completed more than five years at a single branch.
The letter added that, “We have no conflict with the CVC guidelines as they are well-intended. We may also inform you that by and large these guidelines are being implemented by the Banks. But there is so much of over-reaction after the PNB fraud and bank managements inform us that they are under pressure to transfer enmasse employees and officers based on the cut-off date of 31-12-2017.”
He added that every year people are transferred only after the closing of March. “Although there are exceptions in terms of health or their families’ obligations, etc…which is just five percent. But the rest are transferred only in April or thereafter. Now, they are being transferred at this time just because of the panic due to the PNB fraud. This is a colossal risk of money, disturbance to the functioning of banks and employees at the time of making their financial statements.”
The letter calls for necessary action on the “ongoings in the banking sector on account of the NIMOnia fraud in Punjab National Bank. We believe that the issues raised by us are receiving your attention for necessary action”.
According to other banking sources, there is a nexus between private corporations, banks’ top executives and the government.
The letter also said, “The huge PNB fraud caused on account of the wanton corrupt activities of Nirav Modi in collusion with some bank officials at different levels and compounded by gross negligence in supervision at multiple levels of management, RBI not excluding and auditors...”It added, “Unfortunately, public sector banks and the entire workforce are being painted with an uncharitable black brush and we feel that restoring the faith and confidence of the common public in general and banking clientele in particular is the top most priority at the moment.”