Chennai, Feb 18 - The Central government should remove the top management of the $1.8 billion fraud-hit Punjab National Bank (PNB) till the probe is completed, demanded a top banking employees union leader.
"It is not known at up to what level the management of PNB is involved in the scam. However the bank management has shown haste in suspending 20 employees and transferring a General Manager," All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) General Secretary C.H. Venkatachalam said.
"It will be prudent on the part of the government to keep out the current top management of PNB - Chairman and Managing Director, Executive Director and General Managers - from office till the probe is completed. Those who are not involved in the scam can be re-inducted later," he added.
"What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. When there seems to be an undue haste and hurry in suspending the low level employees, AIBEA demands the temporary removal of the management first in connection with the mega scam of around Rs 11,500 crore," Venkatachalam said.
According to him, the whole system at PNB has failed and the top management has to take responsibility given the magnitude of the fraud.
Queried about the views of Arvind Subramaniam, Chief Economic Advisor to Indian Government, that it is time for privatisation of government banks, Venkatachalam said: "The banks were nationalised since the private sector banks were involved in fraud and mismanagement."
"Subramainam's views on privatisation is well known. He has also said there has been failure of external controller in PNB scam," D. Thomas Franco Rajendra Dev, General Secretary of the All India Bank Officers Confederation.
He said the solution is changing the policies of the government towards lending for small and medium industries, and agriculture which are the main employment generators.
Dev said the ballooning non-performing loans of government banks is also due to the involvement of the top management, but no action is taken against them.