Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Bank’s overseas shareholder Sanjeev Arora has raised serious questions over the integrity and leadership for its wide ranging issues.
This has come after the bank has been non-performing over the last many quarters and sitting over the appointment of a new Managing Director.
In a letter shot to the Bank’s board of directors on February 25, a copy of which is with Kashmir Reader, Arora has said “it has been very disappointing to see the lack of integrity and competence of the leadership of the bank over the last few years”.
“This has of course resulted in major financial losses for me and my fellow shareholders,” he said in the letter written from New Mexico USA.
A long-time shareholder and the owner of 2.68 million shares, Arora said that he was overjoyed after hearing about the appointment of former HDFC Kashmir head Zubair Iqbal last year.
Referring to the decision, he said, he was “overjoyed to hear that you had selected a highly regarded new CEO Zubair Iqbal to lead the bank”.
“It was reassuring to know that Mr Iqbal had led the J&K operations of HDFC Bank under the mentorship of Aditya Puri. We expected Mr Iqbal to implement the best practices he had learnt at HDFC bank,” Arora added.
According to him, they expected the former HDFC banker would improve the asset quality of J&K Bank. “There was some light at the end of the tunnel for shareholders that had suffered so much,” he added.
Iqbal was selected by a committee from among 37 contestants for the lead role in the J&K Bank. In the next 90 days, as per RBI norms, he was supposed to be in office. But he is still not and is sitting idle at home. This, people close to Iqbal, say has affected him as well as his family. “His life had got disturbed as he was made to quit the HDFC to take up a new assignment,” said a friend of Iqbal.
At the time of his appointment, he was vice-president at HDFC Bank. Zubair had quit as JK Bank’s marketing manager when he had first joined HDFC bank, as branch manager. When he left HDFC Bank, it had over 70 branches in Jammu and Kashmir.
His appointment was making rounds at the time J&K Bank’s report for FY 2019-20, reported a loss of Rs 1,100 crore. Much of this was due to the government’s actions, as the Kashmir economy was mostly shut due to the lockdown imposed after abrogation of Article 370 in the first week of August 2019.
“As shareholders we cannot understand the reason for this delay. This is seriously hurting our interests. I request you to fulfil your fiduciary responsibility to shareholders and rapidly allow new leadership to take charge of the bank and protect the interest of the shareholders,” Arora said.