As RBI superseded Yes Bank, Republic TV's Editor Niranjan Narayanaswamy on Thursday spoke to the former independent director of the bank Uttam Prakash Agarwal - whose letters acted as a whistleblower. Agarwal reiterated his allegations against Yes Bank CEO Ravneet Gill. In January this year, Agarwal resigned citing 'serious concerns' on the state of affairs at the private sector lender and deteriorating practices. Agarwal elaborated on the problem saying that the bank brushed aside his complaints and he is happy that steps have been taken by the RBI.
When asked about his first thought when the news came in that RBI has decided to supersede Yes Bank, he said, "I have seen the news, I am happy and I want to congratulate RBI and honourable Prime Minister and Finance Minister for taking this initiative on the red flag raised by me over Yes Bank."
Speaking about the letter he wrote during his resignation seeking removal of Yes Bank CEO Ravneet Gill, he said, "I have elaborated each and every issue. The thing started with appointment of CFO. Moment Mr Gill joined in march, without approval of audit committee, he appointed the CFO. He started recruiting unecessary people giving them same salary. He has spent 18 cr to one of the company which is not even registered with SEBI. When I resigned, he tried to cover his non-governance by saying I am not fit and proper."
He also added: "Every board meeting, every audit committee meeting, or wherever I was a member, if there was no proper documentation, if no proper process was followed, the I have raised objections. The appointment of the Chairman was not done taking into consideration the Board's views. Most of the issues that were affecting the interest of the investors I have raised it to the regulators."
Speaking about his term in Yes Bank, and RBI's claim that NPAs were underreported, he said: "When I joined the report was already out. After I joined no such huge loans were given, neither was I a part of any such committee." On the panic over the current situation, he said, "There is no need to panic, RBI has passed the order only for 30 days to improve the state of affairs in the Yes Bank. Govt is taking care of the interest of the depositors."
When asked if he thinks RBI would have stepped in earlier, he said that he would not comment into the functioning of the RBI. He also added that there is no need for depositers to panic and that there is no problem in the Bank except few individuals. "I request depositers to not panic. I hope and believe that RBI will sort the matter in the given time period."
On Thursday, the RBI imposed a moratorium on Yes Bank, superseding its Board of Directors. In the meantime, former Chief Financial Officer of SBI Prashant Kumar has been appointed as the administrator for Yes Bank. The withdrawals for customers have been capped at Rs.50,000.
However, an exception can be made on the grounds of a medical emergency, higher education costs, marriage expenses, and unavoidable emergency. The RBI not only assured the customers but also promised to draw a scheme for the bank’s reconstruction or amalgamation within the 30-day moratorium period. The RBI has cited Yes Bank's “inability to raise capital to address potential loan losses” and “serious governance issues” as some of the reasons for taking action.
Talking at an event in Mumbai earlier in the day, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das remarked, "The decision has been taken at a larger level - not just at an individual entity level. It is at a larger level to ensure the resilience of the Indian banking sector. Let me assure you that the Indian banking sector continues to be safe and sound and challenges ahead of us – RBI is ready to deal with it effectively, as it is the responsibility of RBI as the Central Bank of India."