Apropos your front page story “State Bank of India posts record loss of Rs 77 bn in Q4; stock rises 3.7%” (May 23), there seems to be a race between the public sector banks to come out clean — declare huge losses and erase all their past sins. Punjab National Bank (PNB) took the lead — because of the Nirav Modi scam — and now the big daddy of all SBI discloses a huge amount of over Rs 77 billion for the quarter ending March ‘18. Clearly, the losses were always there and they have an opportunity now to seek a bigger share of the recapitalisation bounty from the government. In this particular case, even QE March ‘17 loss declared was over Rs 28 billion.
Who is paying for these astronomical amounts of losses incurred due to the inefficiency, utter lack of diligence, dereliction of duty, no respect for the onerous responsibility entrusted and, of course, personal greed of the bank officials, from top to bottom? Each tax payer of the country. What is the justification for making an honest tax payer pay for the crimes of others? These big guys sit in their palatial offices and dole out loans without due diligence — in some cases clearly in return for personal gains either directly or through family members and friends. All along they have known that nothing can touch them, the big ones would, in any case, not face any adverse consequences. Worse, they will retire early and perhaps get an adverse remark in the personal file.
In the corporate sector — especially in the West — erring officials have been sent to jail and personally paid huge penalties; they have had to hire expensive lawyers at their own expense. Even poster boys, icons and role models were not spared. Isn't it time India also makes the bank chairman and other top officials accountable for their errors of omission and commission? Shouldn't they be made to make up for the losses to the organisation from their massive personal wealth? Why are they immune to such accountability? If their actions were forced by any political arm-twisting, they should be made to expose such politicians also.
I think, we have the right man in the top job in the country to get cracking without any further delay. It may even help him garner greater support in the 2019 election!
Krishan Kalra Gurugram
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