Well-known bank union leader Subhash Sawant passed away on Sunday morning due to coronavirus (COVID-19). He was general secretary of Indian National Bank Employees' Federation (INBEF). While he fought several battles for bank employees and staff, his remarkable contribution was as a whistle-blower to fought to highlight mounting bad loans and the lack of accountability of top management. Separately, ZB Inamdar, a banker and whistle-blower who fought a dogged battle against corruption in Bombay Mercantile Cooperative Bank for over two decades, also succumbed to COVID-19 recently.
Mr Sawant, the general secretary of Central Bank Employees Union, has been actively raising his voice against the rising non-performing assets (NPAs) in public sector banks (PSBs) and its inept handling by the bank officials for many years. His relentless battle in the past exposed the dubious dealings of the Central Bank of India's former chairperson Homai Daruwala
and the personal cost that he paid for it have been extensively recorded by us.
Although he retired from the Bank in 2009, the Bank tried to harass him over his pension benefits in 2014 for speaking out against bad loans
Only last month, Mr Sawant filed had filed a petition before the Bombay High Court seeking to extend status and benefits given to COVID-19 warriors to bank employees. "These bank employees have been relentlessly rendering the banking services to the society as a whole and as equal to those of doctors, nurses, para-medical staff and health workers.
"However, the government while declaring others as COVID Warriors has neglected bank employees and only lip sympathy has been showered on them," Mr Sawant had said.
Mr Sawant was strong leader, who used his skill and knowledge in the negotiations deciding service conditions of bankers since 4th bipartite settlement till the memorandum of understanding (MOU) for the 11th bipartite settlement.
Bank employees also remember Mr Sawant for his stand on opening of second option for pension after building "strong option campaign as to why the PF Optees should contribute their share of wage increase for benefit of pensioners which had resulted into the opening of second option for pension through MOU on 27 November 2009."
We Bankers, an online forum that has turned into a bankers’ union, led by young generation of bank employees, called Mr Sawant as a leader who always stood with the right cause.
Zakir B Inamdar worked tirelessly for over 25 years to expose corruption in Bombay Mercantile Cooperative Bank
. He and his colleagues, who have relentlessly highlighted the misuse and misappropriation of depositors’ money over two decades, came in for relentless persecution. All their attempts to get the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to act decisively came to nothing. In fact, former central bankers with the RBI have turned into advisers for the Bank after their retirement and cooling off period.
Is it any wonder that exposing the Bank’s attemp t to mislead depositors by making false claims lead to no action? Here is a link to how
the Bank falsely claimed to have been lauded by RBI.
ZB Inamdar filed a public interest litigation (PIL), after a decade-long attempt to get RBI to act on detailed and specific complaints of large-scale corruption by the management. RBI was served a notice, but here too, it deflected responsibility to the registrar of cooperatives who did nothing. Now that the buck stops decisively at RBI, will the central bank act? Here is a link to the case in which RBI passed the buck :
Both Mr Sawant and Mr Inamdar were staunch supporters of Moneylife. Both regularly participated in Moneylife Foundation's effort to impart financial literacy and make people aware of their rights.
Moneylife will miss both these stalwart bankers...!
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