Modi’s cryptic directive seems to be an effort aimed at sending a message that the government has zero tolerance towards corruption.
New Delhi: With several top officials of two state-owned banks — Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of Maharashtra — having been arrested in the aftermath of the alleged multi-crore PNB fraud case and the alleged Rs 2,000 crore scam involving real estate developer D.S. Kulkarni respectively, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed the finance ministry to take strict action against officials involved in fraud, criminal conspiracy and corruption cases.
Though the Prime Minister has never officially reacted on the alleged PNB fraud case or other such cases, even as these have grown into a raging controversy and threatened to taint the NDA government’s claims of clean governance, Mr Modi’s cryptic directive seems to be an effort aimed at sending a message that the government has zero tolerance towards corruption.
With Lok Sabha polls just months away, Mr Modi — who had swept the 2014 polls on the plank of giving good and clean governance while highlighting various scams of the previous UPA regime — is keen to convey to the masses that the NDA government has no mercy for any kind of malpractices.
Highly-placed sources said that Mr Modi has categorically directed the finance ministry’s department of financial services (which deals with banks and lending institutions) to maintain zero tolerance against corrupt bank officials.
Sources added that the Prime Minister, in a meeting with finance ministry officials, is learnt to have said that even those bank officials found to be indulging in harassment or any kind of misbehaviour, should also be strictly dealt with.
While the PNB case had come to light in February this year, last month the Maharashtra police arrested Bank of Maharashtra CEO Ravindra Marathe, executive director Rajendra Gupta and former CEO Sushil Muhnot and some other bank officials on charges of reportedly colluding with real estate developer D.S. Kulkarni for allegedly diverting money and cheating shareholders.
Interestingly, the arrests of the top brass of Bank of Maharashtra, had drawn criticism from the Indian Banks’ Association, which had condemned the reported high-handedness of the probe agencies in the alleged fraud.