SC had ruled that Chairpersons of private banks are public servants

Chairpersons of Private Banks are the same as those of Public Servants and RBI must act quickly in the case of ICICI


For the Prevention of Corruption Act, the chairpersons of Private Banks shall be considered Public Servants. This was the ruling by a Supreme Court bench consisting of Ranjan Gogoi and Prafulla C Pant.  This ruling came down in the case of Global Trust Bank, where the Chairman and Managing Director abused their position to siphon off money[1]. This judgment was delivered late in the evening on Feb 23, 2016.

So it is without a doubt that the same ruling is applicable in case of ICICI bank also. The Supreme Court has already empowered the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and its Governor Urjit Patel to take action. Since millions of depositors are watching nervously as this saga plays out, it is imperative that the RBI act and act quickly.

In a recent speech, the RBI Governor expressed helplessness about not having adequate legal powers to supervise and manage public sector banks[2]. He said this in reference to the Nirav Modi scam that happened in the Punjab National Bank.

Patel waxed philosophical when he said that the RBI is like Neelkantha (Shiva) at the time of Amrit Manthan, consuming the poison that came out and keeping it in his neck. I would urge the RBI Governor to read the Supreme Court ruling in detail and act swiftly. At the minimum, RBI should ask Ms. Kochhar to step aside, institute an independent inquiry commission and look into the matter of this scam[3]. The Securities and Exchange Board of India also needs to get involved to look into the loan of crores of rupees given to a Shell company.

A quick look at the ownership of ICICI reveals that it has close to 50% Foreign Ownership[4] and it is answerable to the whole world. ICICI is also traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol IBN.

References:

[1] Chairpersons of private banks are public servants: Supreme CourtFeb 24, 2016, Livemint.com

[2] Urjit Patel on PNB fraud case: RBI angry but hands are tiedMar 15, 2018, Indian Express

[3] ICICI Bank head and husband on the radar of investigative agenciesMar 25, 2018, PGurus.com

[4] ICICI shareholding pattern as of Dec 31, 2017Dec 31, 2017, ICICI.com

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An inventor and out-of-the-box thinker, Sree Iyer has 37 patents in the areas of Hardware, Software, Encryption and Systems.

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