Chennai: The All India Bank Officers' Confederation (AIBOC) on Friday condemned the direct attack on the Chairman of the State Bank of India (SBI) Rajnish Kumar by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Guwahati recently.
Citing an audio clip that has gone viral on the social media, AIBOC General Secretary Soumya Datta condemned Sitharaman for her verbal direct attack on Kumar.
The AIBOC has a membership of about 3.2 lakh bank officers.
According to the AIBOC statement, Sitharaman came down heavily on Kumar on 27.2.2020 while attending the SBI Financial Inclusion Outreach programme held at Guwahati in the presence of Assam Finance Minister, heads of other banks, officials of the Department of Financial Services and others.
"She launched a vituperative verbal tirade at Rajnish Kumar and accused him of being responsible for all the failures of the Bank in extending loans, especially to the tea garden workers in the State of Assam. She even went on to brand State Bank of India as a 'heartless Bank' and literally humiliated Rajnish Kumar, Chairman of the largest bank in the country in the forum," Datta said in the statement.
According to Datta, the recording of the entire episode and its spread on the social media seems to be deliberate to demean and tarnish SBI's image.
Speaking to IANS on the condition of anonymity a member of AIBOC said: "The Union Finance Minister might have got upset as several Jan Dhan accounts of tea garden labourers were frozen as their KYC (know your customer) was not verified which is as per the Reserve Bank of India's norms."
According to Datta, a day before the Financial Outreach Programme, the Finance Minister had pulled up public sector banks as a whole on poor branch level connections with customers, which in her opinion was affecting the credit push.
According to her, the present branch level connect of the public sector banks with customers was not what it was earlier.
"Further, the public sector banks were only compelled by the government in the past to bail out the private sector banks in crisis time. It is only on March 5 that the Finance Minister proposed the government's decision to bail out the beleaguered Yes Bank to come out of the crisis by way of putting a huge burden on none other than State Bank of India," Datta said.
According to him, the humiliation of the SBI Chairman by Sitharaman at a high level state summit is deplorable as the bank comes under the definition of State as mentioned in Article 12 of the Constitution.
"It would not be an exaggeration to say that it is unbecoming on the part of a representative of the public to indulge in such an act with the chief of SBI," Datta said.