Pratip Chaudhuri: More bankers express concern over ex-SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri’s arrest

Pratip Chaudhuri: More bankers express concern over ex-SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri’s arrest

The Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) on Wednesday sought an appointment with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and wrote to the chief secretary of the state, expressing concern over the police action in arresting former SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri without following due process.

After Chaudhuri was denied bail by a Rajasthan court, more bankers expressed concern over the arrest of the senior banker. The FIR had already been quashed by the Supreme Court.

“I do not know the facts of the case but, based on what I have read, we really need to have a criminal justice system which protects bona fide actions by bankers for recovery of their money,” said veteran banker Uday Kotak, adding that there has to be a method by which that action has to be protected.

Union Bank MD & CEO Rajkiran Rai described the arrest as an unfortunate incident, saying that authorities must understand the banker’s perspective before taking such drastic action.

“It disturbs us that a former SBI chairman has got arrested for a decision that does not come to the chairman level,” said Rai.

The action will play a negative role on the morale of bankers as banks have to take many such decisions, said former chief of Punjab National Bank and IBA secretary Sunil Mehta in an interview with CNBC.

For every decision with respect to disposal of an NPA, there is a due process that is documented, Mehta added. He believes that even Chaudhuri’s joining the board of the ARC would have been subsequent to a due process.

Alchemist ARC has described the arrest as ‘bizarre’ and said that SC had earlier quashed an FIR aimed at stymieing the sale of the hotel property.

A new government rule, aimed at shielding public sector officials and bankers against law enforcement overreach, has come into the spotlight after the arrest which has roiled bankers, particularly those at state-run lenders.

This rule suggests that the police needs a prior nod before acting against PSU officials.

(With inputs from TOI)

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