State Bank of Travancore CGM transfer triggers protests

CM Pinarayi Vijayan shot off a missive to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday seeking justice for the transferred official.

Thiruvananthapuram: The sudden transfer of SBT chief general manager S Adikesavan to SBI Hyderabad has triggered a massive backlash in the state. Adikeshavan, who was SBT’s negotiator with SBI on the merger process, had reportedly expressed his disappointment with the unilateral manner in which SBI was going ahead with the acquisition.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan shot off a missive to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday seeking justice for the transferred official. He wanted Mr Modi examine the charge that Adikesavan was punished for his pro-employee stance.

The Chief Minister’s intervention came after a delegation led by Save SBT Forum chairman Panniyan Ravindran met him at his office here on Wednesday. The Forum wanted the merger process to be called off and the transfer of Adikesavan to be revoked.

Former Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, too, came down heavily on the transfer. “Adikeshavan's transfer to Hyderabad should be immediately revoked and he should be retained in Thiruvananthapuram,” he said. Mr Achuthanandan said that the transfer of Adikesavan was proof that State Bank authorities were behaving in a vindictive manner towards officials and employees who oppose the merger.

Sajan Peter, the chairman of the Audit Committee of the Board of SBT, had no doubt that the transfer was punitive. “How else can we interpret an upright officer’s abrupt removal when the negotiation process is on and crucial decisions were yet to be taken,” Mr Peter said.

Adikesavan had reportedly raised his objection during the board meeting called by SBI on August 18 when a scheme of acquisition was put forward as final. Adikeshavan, supposed to negotiate to safeguard SBT interests, questioned the imposition.

The scheme of acquisition, according to the roadmap agreed upon, should have reflected the conclusion of negotiations. There were issued related to SBT employees, branches and swap ratio to be negotiated. But no such negotiations were held. Adikeshavan was bluntly told that there was nothing left to be negotiated.

Mr Sajan Peter said that SBI’s arbitrary moves were revealed way back in May. “On May 17 they brought the issue as a ‘table agenda’ (in other words as an imposed agenda), which I had then strongly objected to,” he said. “An agenda like merger ought to have been circulated beforehand and the participants should have been allowed to come prepared.

Mr Peter had also raised a couple of issues, which the SBI has still not responded. One, he wanted the working results of previous mergers. Two, he wanted SBI to open a dialogue with the state government as SBT was formed out of the Travancore Bank, and the perception still persists that SBT is a state bank.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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