Bankers' prudent decisions will be protected: FM

Bankers' prudent decisions will be protected: FM

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during a review meeting with chief executive officers (CEOs) of public sector banks (PSBs) and CBI officials in New Delhi

Assuring that honest commercial decisions taken by bankers will be protected, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said the government has decided to take measures to assuage concerns over harassment by investigative agencies.

In a meeting with heads of the public sector banks (PSBs), also attended by the CBI Director, she assured the bankers that a distinction would be made between genuine commercial failures and culpability.

"Banks have gone through a slightly worrying period, wherein decision making was getting difficult because of fear of 3Cs. There was a concern and bona fide decisions are not being made by banks because of what they would say undue harassment, uncalled for harassment happens because of these agencies pursuing on cases," Nirmala said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG), and Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) are commonly referred to as 3Cs.

"So, on that, we've had quite a few decisions and quite a few exchanges of engagement with the banks in the presence of the CBI director to help to ease out the process. Some of the confusion, apprehension have been explained by the CBI director," she said.

The CBI will have discussions, and workshops with the bank officials from the level of vigilance officers, senior managers to general managers to explain and eliminate apprehension from their minds, she added.

The minister also said a similar exercise will be done with other investigative agencies like Enforcement Directorate, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, and Customs to allay fears from their minds.

She also directed public sector bank heads to clear long pending vigilance cases against their officials for alleged malpractices.

The banks should form a panel headed by General Manager and it should either take decision to pursue the case with a timeline or close the file of long-pending vigilance cases, she instructed.

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