Arbitrary Extension of service and illegal reappointment of T.K.Panda, Managing Director of Odisha State Co-operative Bank violating ‘Fit and Proper Criteria’ prescribed by RBI for CEOs of State Cooperative Banks.
Since last several years, Odisha has witnessed severe unemployment crisis with lakhs of educated youths battling to get job in Govt. or private institutions to live with dignity. While unemployment is on rise, the State Govt. has been extending services of retired officers/ employees and also giving reappointment of retired employees in different posts.
The glaring case is continuous illegal extension of service of Tusar Kanti Panda, Managing Director of Odisha State Co-operative Bank by the administration flouting all norms and regulations. In 2013, Sri Panda who was about to retire at age of 58 on 31.10.2013 , got succeeded in manipulating the administrative procedure to get extension of service for two years w.e.f. 1.11.2013 taking plea of an unauthorised resolution of the Management of OSCB dt.6.05.2009 to enhance the superannuation age of employees of OSCB from 58 years to 60 years violating the statutory order No.21098 dt.1.10.2010 of RCS (O) which prohibited extension of service of employees of Cooperative Societies after their retirement age of 58 years.
In 2014, he again succeeded to get another extension of two years of his service as MD of OSCB upto 62 years on 21.08.2014 from 1.11.2015 to 31.10.2017. It is learnt from information obtained under RTI that his extension of service was granted following recommendation of Professor and HOD of Computer Science Deptt of IIT Kharagpur (Who was a member of the high value controversial CBS procurement committee as consultant of ODCB) on the pretext that second line officers of OSCB are not capable to move forward the CBS computerization project of OSCB successfully overlooking the statutory ban order for extension of service imposed by RCS mentioned above. The CBS software implementation is a big disaster in Cooperative Banks due to defective CBS software procured from v-soft.
It was observed from the file noting ( File No. COOP-CRI-MISC-0001-2017) that in 2017, the Co-operation Dept. again moved a proposal for granting extension of service of Sri Panda for another one year w.e.f. 1.11.2017 following a resolution taken by the Management Committee of OSCB & proposal of Registrar, Cooperative Society placed at incoming No. 8785/COOP/2017. But the extension of term of Sri T.K.Panda was restricted to six months from 15.11.17 to 20.4.2018 by Chief Secretary and Chief Minister. It was also instructed that within this period, his successor should be identified by the Cooperation Department. It would avoid any disturbance in the procurement operations.
On 6.3.2018, the State Govt. has constituted a Search Committee headed by Chief Secretary to find out a person for the post of Managing Director, OSCB. It deserves to be mentioned here that the RBI has prescribed the following “ Fit and Proper Criteria” for appointment of CEOs in State Cooperative Banks.
i) For entry level eligibility to be relaxed to 62 years
ii) For superannuation, the upper age limit to be fixed at 70 years. . However, the age of superannuation may be decided by RCS of the respective states after taking into consideration the recommendations , if any of the Board of directors of the Co-opeartive Banks.
But astonishingly, deviating from RBI norm, the State Govt. has gone to the extent of arbitrarily taking an additional criteria of age relaxation for the existing employees of the Scheduled Co-operative Banks. This eligibility criteria has been taken up very cunningly by the Govt. with the sole intention of appointing Sri Panda again through backdoor means. It is very interesting to note that the qualification for the post of MD, OSCB stipulated in the screening committee notification of Cooperation Department dated 6.3.2018 is as per the old ‘fit and proper’ criteria prescribed by RBI dt.18.6.2008, whereas, the qualification stipulated in the advertisement for said post of issued by Cooperation Department on 7.3.2018 is different and is as per the revised ‘Fit and Proper’ criteria prescribed by RBI dt.3.3.2009 and 5.7.2011.
It deserves to mention here that during his tenure Sri Panda had allowed around 60 number of high salaried employees of OSCB to illegally continue in service beyond their retirement age of 58 years up to 60 years without approval of Registrar of Cooperative Societies basing on the unauthorised resolution of the Management of OSCB dt.6.05.2009 to enhance the superannuation age of employees of OSCB from 58 years to 60 years violating the statutory order No.21098 dt.1.10.2010 of RCS (O).
He had also illegally twice revised salary of employees of OSCB at par with RBI in collusion with the employees and Board members without statutory approval of Registrar of Cooperative Societies twice during his tenure over looking provisions of Orissa Cooperative Societies Act, 1962 and disbursed huge amount of arrear salary when the Bank was being bailed out by Government of Orissa from being closed by pumping of huge share capital of Rs 54 Crore to enhanced it’s Capital base (CRAR 9%) to meet RBI norms since it’s share capital had substantially eroded due to the non-recoverable (loss category NPA) loan of Rs 48 Crore granted to Bijayananda Cooperative Sugar Mills during his tenure and apart from other NPA loans. As per law the entire unauthorised expenditure made for extension of service and illegal revision of salary of staff without approval of Registrar is recoverable from him. He has successfully thwarted the inquiries conducted on the above matter by putting pressure on the concerned officials.
Though ex-Minister Cooperation had ordered for inquiry u/s 65 of OCS Act, 1962 and vigilance inquiry against him, he had been successful to keep on hold the above inquiries against him for his lobby with some top bureaucrats who are proving him undue protection.
Apart from Kerala in Himachal Pradesh, IAS officers are still posted as Managing Director of State Cooperative Bank despite implementation of Vaidyanathan Committee Recommendation (VCR) for posting of professionals in State and District Cooperative Banks complying "fit and proper criteria" prescribed by RBI. Currently one Ram Kumar Goutam from Himachal Administrative Service is posted as Managing Director of HPSCB wef 9.1.2018 after Gopal Sharma IAS who was MD of HPSCB from 9.5.16 to 9.1.18. All along IAS are posted in HPSCB for transparent administration and better coordination with District Administrations. But it is hard to understand why in Odisha, a tainted person having several allegations of serious financial irregularities, vigilance cases is given repeated illegal extension of service and some top bureaucrats are again hatching conspiracy to reappoint the said incumbent by hook or crook through back door means up to 70 years taking plea of age enhancement guideline of NABARD dated 17.1.2018 though he has already crossed 62 years.