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SBI plans FIR over leaked FM clip lifting brass


NEW DELHI: A day after a controversy erupted over Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, which detained OSI executives led by President Rajneesh Kumar, the country’s largest lender said it was initiating action, including accommodation of an FIR, against “mischievous elements” for registering and circulating unauthorized audio clip on social networks, while ministry officials defended the impatience of the minister.

They described the FM’s comments as “justified and legitimate concern” about the operation of state and local bankers.

“He lamented the callousness of local bank officials and detained the officers of the statewide bankers committee (SLBC). In fact, his callous action had deprived nearly 8 lakh tea garden workers from accessing their Jan-Dhan bank debts for more than a year. The poor tea garden workers were unable to obtain their own DBT benefits. They suffered through no fault of theirs and local bank officials, despite various attempts by local and state administration, were not paying attention to solve this problem, “said a senior official present at the Guwahati meeting last month.


At the meeting, the issue was brought up by the Assam government, led by the state’s finance minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma. He complained that there had been no progress despite several meetings called by him. Sarma told Union FM that some of the top executives did not attend these meetings.

The problem came to light after the All India Bank Officers Confederation issued a statement criticizing the FM’s comments, only to withdraw it later. After the audio clip began circulating on social media on Saturday, Sarma turned to Twitter to say that AIBOC did not understand the context.

In the audio clip, Sitharaman is heard referring to the SBI as a “soulless” bank, as he tells the bankers that his approach was unacceptable. She is heard saying that she will approach the RBI to solve the problem, although it is not her job. What kind of SLBC is this? … Today I will speak to the RBI Governor. That is not my business. He should have approached the department and had him speak to RBI and should have finished it before the 24 months are up. Sorry to sound so hard. I am not satisfied, sir. I’m not satisfied, SBI President, SLBCs don’t work that way. ”

She instructed the bankers to start the job while talking to RBI, and then added: “Nothing makes up for their inefficiency. Let me be frank about this.

Sitharaman then demanded a timeline to fix the problem facing tea garden workers who were unable to access their accounts, and instructed the OSE chief to meet with her in Delhi. Describing it as “total omission of work”, the FM is heard telling the OSE president that she considers him “fully responsible for a failure” and that he would have a “detailed talk”.

The minister then called a local executive. “He may be a top official, but I’m sorry, he disappointed the government,” she is told, after which the banker apologized.

There were also complaints at the meeting about the absence of ATMs and branches, resulting in tea garden workers not being able to access the money they had in their accounts.

On Sunday, Sarma seemed to give a reconciling tone. “The government highly values ​​the energetic association of all banking institutions,” he tweeted.

The Assam government opened the 8 lakh accounts in 2017 and an incentive amount of Rs 5,000 was transferred to each account. But due to the “half-hearted approach of local bank officials,” a sizable section of these tea garden workers were deprived of their legitimate rights, the official said.

The senior finance ministry official said Sitharaman had detained local bank executives, including the one who chaired the state-level bankers committee for “being insensitive” to the plight of 8 lakh tea garden workers. .

“These local bank officers were making some silly excuses. The finance minister disagreed and asked that the problem of these tea garden workers be resolved urgently, “the official said.

Times of India