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Monday, August 11, 2014

CBI on overdrive in the wrong lane ?

modi govt's biggest achievement probably is that it redefined governance. in such a short time modi sent the message down to all the babus in the clearest possible terms. make it simple. the man on the street should understand what the govt is doing. do not assume that what you do is too complicated for the masses to comprehend. which it is not. keep it simple. which also means accountable.

the message has spread rather well among the state institutions. except may be a few unhappy exceptions like the CBI. cbi appear to be unwilling to accept the 'simply accountable' mantra.  they probably want the privileges they enjoyed under the previous govt to continue. which means no responsibility to explain anything to anyone . all in the name of secrecy.

look at the recent cbi catch flashed across prime time tv screens and front pages of national newspapers. cbi nabs syndicate bank m d. red handed . for taking rs 50 lacs bribe. for enhancing credit limits of a borrower client.

now look at the one column news tucked deep  in an inner page of one of those national dailies under the ambiguous headline 'SIT.. may discuss PSU bank case'.  which says in small print  'alleged bribe  for not declaring bad loans as non performing assets was handed over to middle man to give it the colour of legitimate business transaction. no actual delivery of bribe money to the m d  was made '.

compare the two adjacent paragraphs.  'red handed / no actual delivery. for enhancing limits/ for not declaring as npa'. what remains uncontradicted in the end is 'to give it the colour of legitimate business transaction'

either our national investigating agency is ill equipped to comprehend the basics of banking or driven by misguided enthusiasm to catch the big fish at any cost  or forced by unknown motives. yet another possibility is that cbi is out right naive. or they think the public is. the govt is.

modi govt should not allow cbi to be an ugly blot on its otherwise decent image. neither can the govt ignore the morale busting impact of cbi on the psb heads. another misguided cbi adventure and we can rest assured that banking sector will relapse into a limbo. not sanctioning / enhancing credit  limits. declaring npa left and right. avoiding  anything which will have the colour of legitimate banking transaction.

banking is one of those sectors ( which unfortunately includes govt job )  where good work which also means taking calibrated risks is not rewarded but the smallest deviation is punished. which results in inaction getting promoted. ( in fact inaction already commands good  premium here . )  it is easy to push any one , especially the  bankers, to the wall.   but bringing them back may not be easy. at least not in the short span within which modi wants to take our country into the world biggies league.

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a liitle more on the CBI saga

bhushan steels, the villain in the alleged bribery case, is  financed
by a group of banks with PNB as the lead bank. to what extent a
member bank can  influence the NPA classification is known to anyone
except may be a select few in the CBI. if the loan of any bank falls
under npa , then the other banks also will have  to show their exposure
under npa. so by influencing one bank ( probably a minor partner )
shelling out rs 50 lacs ( which most probably is enough to regularise
the loan ) as bribe,  how the company hoped to gain anything in terms of
npa classification is beyond a common man's imagination