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FM allays fear of ”three Cs” among bankers

Allaying fears of CBI and other agencies popularly termed as ”three Cs” among bankers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday reiterated that prudent commercial decisions would be protected.

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

In a meeting with top bosses of the Public Sector Banks (PSBs) and private banks, also attended by the CBI Director, Sitharaman assured the bankers that a distinction would be made between genuine commercial failures and culpability.

The minister said that in the recent past there had been concerns and worries among bank officials about investigating agencies hence impacting bonafide decisions. The minister said that bank officials feared uncalled for harassment but stated that now there was no reason to feel so.

“No case, no case whatsoever, involving the banks goes to CBI without the banks themselves deciding to send it here. There is no suo moto case which the CBI takes against the bank. So, let”s be very clear in the understanding that banks have an internal committee, which look at fraudulent practices in certain accounts or certain cases and they have well-defined protocol for it,” Sitharaman said after meeting with the bankers.

“When banks” internal committee decide only then it goes for information to the Reserve Bank. Post that it gets referred to the CBI. And these are for Rs 3 crore or more suspicious fraudulent cases,” she added.

The Finance Minister said that CBI would develop a mechanism on the lines of Income Tax department to send notices or along with a registration number to avoid any scope of unauthorised communication and consequent harassment.

While pursuing criminal action against those responsible for fraud, the agency shall be sensitive to the distinction between a bonafide decision and criminal involvement.

“It was also noted that there is a need for preserving the value of the business enterprise by treating it on a separate footing from culpability of individuals, if any,” Finance Ministry statement said.

The CBI will also hold a couple of meetings and workshops together with bank officials in the next few months to explain various confusions and misgivings, officers from across various levels would participate in these workshops. It would create a dedicated phone number on which any person could give information regarding any undue harassment by the investigative machinery.

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