Opinion

Below the line

| Updated on August 18, 2019 Published on August 18, 2019

Caught on the back foot

As Kapil Mishra, the former Delhi Minister who was expelled from the Aam Admi Party early this month, joined the BJP on Saturday, many came forward to give him friendly advice — to remove his acrid Twitter remarks, on the BJP in general and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular.

Mishra, whose mother was a senior BJP leader in the capital, was among those AAP founder-leaders who had launched a boisterous campaign against Modi in the past. In one of his tweets in 2016, Mishra had said of Modi: “The one whose story of a tea shop is fake, marriage story is fake, electoral assurances are fake, educational degree fake...his bhakts (followers) are putting out fake posts to comfort themselves.” He may have a lot of words to eat.

Will DHFL debenture holders blink?

All eyes are now on debenture holders of DHFL to see if they would approve the resolution plan put forwarded by themanagement. The reason for this is that as a major portion (nearly 50 per cent) of the debt in the DHFL case is with debenture holders, not banks.

Since debenture trustees cannot unilaterally take a decision (they require a 75 per cent mandate from debenture holders), they have sent a message to everybody; but it seems the big fellows are not responding. Although smaller players with exposure to DHFL debentures are giving consent, unless the biggies like LIC, pension and provident funds and mutual funds give the mandate, things will not move.

The way things are going, don’t be surprised if DHFL turns into an NPA for banks in the September quarter, say sceptics in the banking industry. This will be another whammy for the already struggling sector.

The blighted CBI ‘row’

The 18th annual DP Kohli Memorial Lecture caught much headlines with the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, making sharp remarks on the functioning of the Central Bureau of Investigation and calling to free the agency from government control.

But what evaded the headlines was why this annual lecture was last held in 2016. An apparent answer to this was reflected in the first row, reserved for former CBI Directors. While all other rows were packed to the brim, this one seemed to have empty seats. This could be because the last few CBI Directors have been embroiled in much controversy and have since avoided being seen in public.

Casting the net wide?

It is now clear that the government is looking to have as many applicants as possible to the posts of MD and CEO of two large public sector banks — Punjab National Bank and Bank of India.

You may wonder how? This is because the minimum experience criteria specified in the advertisement calling for applications to these posts stipulate “15 years in mainstream banking of which atleast one year should be at the Board level”. Now this requirement of one-year board-level experience is too low, and will pave the way for newly minted executive directors in the banking system and those serving at the helm of Regional Rural Banks ranked personnel to take a shot at the prestigious posts, say banking industry insiders.

Of course, the applicantswho meet this eligibility criteria will be further subjected to shortlisting. To help assess leadership competencies and capabilities of shortlisted candidates, an advisory firm may assist the Banks Board Bureau. Even on the age criteria, the net has been cast wide this time round, as those between 45 and 57 years can apply. The only sore point is the tenure of these jobs — three years!

Nothing fishy here

When the current BJP President JP Nadda was the Health Minister, his wife Mallika Nadda enjoyed considerable clout amongst doctors and officials in the Ministry. Known to have family links to RSS leader Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, officials were often asked to route information through Mallika to get files fast-tracked. Mallika, a Bengali, is extremely fond of Hilsa fish. It is not unusual for her staff to ask any officials paying a visit to bring along an offering of Hilsa, which she savours with much relish.

Our Delhi Bureau

Published on August 18, 2019
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