Great Victory of RTI
- Mr. Sushil Muhnot Shown the door.
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
A new glittering page in golden letters has been written today, in the history of Right To Information (RTI) Act, with removal of Mr.Sushil Muhnot from the post of Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of Bank of Maharashtra (BoM). Congrats to all the RTI activists & supporters! A Great victory indeed!! Let us keep it up!!!
Friends, the fight started in January 2015 when the undersigned sought information under RTI about occupancy of two houses at Bank's cost by the then CMD of BoM. We got the information on 30-01-2015. We confronted the top management of BoM in the matter in the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Bank on 29-06-2015. The thick skinned CMD Mr. Muhnot himself was chairing the meeting. He tried to evade the questions by giving vague information. Without getting frustrated by these attempts, we vigorously pursued with the top management in writing. Hence the Bank was compelled to provide written reply. It gave the information on 28-07-15, which was in total contradiction with the information provided on 30-01-15. Our efforts for getting clarification from the top management were thwarted by vague and irrelevant replies. It proved that there was misuse of position by the then CMD by way of availing Two rent-free accommodations (one at Pune Bank's headquarter & one more at Mumbai his family's headquarter) against entitlement of One accommodation.
We urged the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) to look into the matter urgently and stop misuse. However this so called WATCHDOG turned out to be TAMED DOG, who served the interests of then CMD and not that of the institution.
Hence we were compelled to lodge a written complaint with vigilance section of the Department of Financial Services (DFS) Ministry of Finance on 8-10-2015. The then CMD and his pets tried to mislead the DFS also, with haphazard & distorted information. The inconsistency in their submission & consistency in our stand convinced the DFS that there is abuse of power by the then CMD.
An explanation was therefore sought in January 2016 from Mr. Sushil Muhnot about this misuse of power. Instead of admitting the abuse and making good the loss, he tried to justify the occupancy of two accommodations as well as the exorbitant expenses of Rs. 1.67 Cr. made on renovation of these accommodations. Though it took quite a long time, the MoF treaded very carefully and sought views of the board of BoM in this matter. The board did not approve the ridiculous stand taken by Mr. Muhnot & his pets and requested the MoF to take suitable decision in the matter. The GoI then proceeded with initiation of Disciplinary action against Mr. Muhnot by issuing him show cause notice on 08-03-2016. It was prominently covered in the Times of India as well as the Maharashtra Times.
Since the notice period was Ninety days, we expected his ouster by 10-06-2016. However, the GoI gave him too long a rope by waiting upto 25-09-2016. Since Mr. Muhnot was to retire on 30-09-2016 on attaining age of superannuation, his pets and the barking dogs from leftist camp tried to make a false propaganda that GoI has accepted his contention and he will superannuate safely.
However, all these guys got a severe blow on 26-09-2016 evening, when the DFS issued the ORDER of REMOVAL of Mr.Muhnot from the post of CMD of BoM.
Friends, it is very rare to see removal of CMD of any PSB. The last one was in 2014. However, it was on account of a criminal case. Hence this appears to be the FIRST case of Removal of a CMD through departmental disciplinary proceedings. What an ugly distinction earned by Mr. Muhnot !
During this trying, tiresome and tough journey of about one year, many pet executives of Mr. Muhnot and stalwarts from left camp tried to malign this mission by criticizing our efforts in a filthy manner. It was rampantly seen in the Extra ordinary Annual General Meeting held in October 2015. Now all these CHAMCHAAs have been fully exposed.
This crucial mission was led by the undersigned along with Mr. Vivekji Velankar - an upright, bold, studious, committed and selfless activist of RTI movement. We express gratitude towards him for the guidance and support.
Our thanks are also due to Mananiya Shri Udayraoji Patwardhan out mentor and Shri Dineshraoji Kulkarni - our source of inspiration.
We are immensely thankful to the electronic as well as print media for the coverage given by them to this matter of public interest. Our special thanks to Times of India and especially Maharashtra Times, which played the role of a real watchdog.
Though stringent action has been taken by the GoI against Mr. Muhnot, the process will not be complete till similar action is taken against the Executive Directors who approved the misuse and the concerned General Managers, who acted as accomplice. We shall continue the fight, till it materialises.
Friends, we wish to make it clear that our fight was not against any individual like Mr. Muhnot. Hence, the fight will continue with the same vigour till all the concerned are penalized. And there after too, our war against Corruption and abuse of power, in BoM as well as in other PSBs, will continue.
We are sure; the new matured leadership of the BoM will take it in proper perspective and take suitable steps for protecting Bank's interest.
With fighting regards,
Shri. Sushil Muhnot continued with his adamant approach by filling application in Hon. Delhi High Court praying for staying his removal order. However, Hon. Court rejected the application observing that the GoI gave adequate opportunity to Mr. Muhnot for defence.
Re: Great Succusses of RTI in Public Sector Banking
Without any doubt, this is a great achievement and a success story. It also opens the eyes of other PSU Banks. But for the support and from insiders' information one can not get into these kind of scams, fortunately there is good support from Media. But for their support, this should have been another case of open and shut.
Perseverance , that is what is most essential in RTI. Even for small information, many PIOs view applicant suspicious, doubts the credentials and purpose, may be a sum of Rs.10,000 might have spent for RTI but the profit to the PSU runs to several crores. When authorities cry foul that RTI Act is being misused, except a news item, there is no rewarding procedure for Activists.
I could not see the role of any IC in CIC in your success. Will you please mention if you have received any support from any IC, as he also deserves high appreciation.
Re: Great Succusses of RTI in Public Sector Banking
CIC was of help when in march 2016 they ordered the vouchers and work orders to be provided which were earlier denied by bank. In this another misuse by Mr. Sushil Muhnot came to light and was published in maharashtra times on front page. This I feel was the last straw on the back of camel and action came.