Srinagar: Describing the initiation of probe by the ACB into malfunctioning of J&K Bank besides en-masse backdoor appointments, corruption, nepotism and favouritism as welcome step, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh JKNPP Chairman and former Minister said it was due to the relentless protests of the Panthers Party that the State government was forced to take action in view of the series of controversies bringing disrepute to the State’s biggest financial institution. “We have been protesting on roads against the J&K Bank for its lack of transparency, rising Non-Performing Assets (NPAs), financial irregularities and unfair recruitment process which finally bore fruits to our efforts”, gratified Harsh said. He was addressing a press conference in Jammu today.

Lambasting JK Bank for its utter lack of transparency and accountability, Mr. Harsh Dev Singh said that in November last year NPP had approached the Regional Office of the JK Bank with an RTI application which was out rightly refused and returned. He revealed that through the RTI, he had sought the details of appointments made by the J&K Bank during the last four years without issuance of advertisement notifications, the details of wilful defaulters, NPAs, Bad debts, over-valued mortgages, unverified investors etc with particular reference to the role of ex-Ministers, ex-MLAs and top bureaucrats. “Cat was out of the bag when the media reported that NPAs of the bank rose to all time high during the tenure of ex-Chairman with allegations of biased recruitment process of POs when the merit was distorted in the Prelims giving rise to speculations of favouritism in the final stage. He regretted that while Post-graduates, M.Phils and Ph.Ds holders languished on roads, the matriculates and equivalents were appointed as managers and Probationary officers in J&K Bank by giving a dawn to all rules and regulations. He said that it was most shocking to note the relations of PDP and BJP leaders being appointed on top positions through backdoor in the Bank despite lack of requisite qualification by disregarding the claims and credentials of highly qualified, meritorious candidates. “Over and above, the illicit recruitment of relatives of BJP, PDP leaders and their own family members in various branches of JK bank by the ex-Chairman tells the sordid tale of improbity and impropriety prevalent in the system. Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) must also investigate into a company owned by defaulter BJP leaders which owed Rs. 29.31 crores to J&K Bank and was declared NPA last year. Shockingly, the same company was used to buy lands at various places including land near Army ammunition depot in Nagrota for construction of a palatial bungalow by a top BJP leader against which the Army had raised objections”, Harsh divulged.

Mr. Harsh Dev Singh maintained that erstwhile PDP-BJP coalition overtly opposed the moves for declaration of the J&K Bank as PSU and its inclusion under RTI only for the motive to abuse the State’s financial institution for their personal and political gains. He said that Kashmir centric parties by appointing favourites as JK Bank Chairmen during their respective terms in power had extracted huge benefits from the Bank. Moreover, the nasty policy of appointing a Kashmir based officer as the Chairman of the Bank in utter disregard of Jammu based incumbents had always been discriminatory and scornful, he regretted. “We vociferously demanded appointment of Chairman from Jammu region and for the first time it could happen that a Dogra officer took the charge of J&K Bank in which the State government has majority stakes of 59 percent”, said Harsh. Further accusing BJP-PDP of promoting a culture of patronage corruption in the said Bank, Mr. Singh hoped that the probe would be taken to its logical conclusion.

Mr. Surinder Chouhan District President (Rural) of JKNPP was also present in the press conference.


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