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PNB is conferred with the prestigious "Corporate Vigilance Excellence Award": 2014-15 from the Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad for the 2nd time in succession, organised Vigilance Officers conclave of vigilance professionals of PSEs on 13th March 2015, at Hyderabad considering the following remarkable achievements of the Bank in Vigilance Administration:
The Vigilance Manual of PNB updated thoroughly after 11 years. The updation of vigilance manual was done in December 2012, by incorporating all the guidelines of CVC, Bank and RBI. Shri Anil Sinha, the then Additional Secretary, CVC appreciated the efforts of PNB in bringing out an updated and comprehensive Vigilance Manual.
In compliance of RBI guidelines in order to curtail the delay and bring transparency, the technology has been leveraged in the vigilance administration by implementing Vigilance Management Software System (Green Vigilance) in dealing with vigilance disciplinary cases. With this software, all the DAs at Circle / FGM / Head Office level have been linked with Vigilance Deptt. and they have been advised to send the cases through this software only . With this, the Vigilance Deptt. can monitor online all the vigilance cases of entire bank without manual intervention.
The Vigilance Deptt is periodically releasing `PNB Vigil` for circulation to the employees. This magazine contains various articles about the modus operandi adopted by fraudsters, vigilance related articles, do`s and don`ts of vigilance officers/field staff in particular by incumbents. Special issues on the topics of large corporate borrowal frauds, e-procurement, vigilance awareness, etc. have also been released.
To determine vigilance angle, uniform standardised vigilance format has been devised as per CVC guidelines and circulated to all DAs to send the cases through this format. By introduction of this, transparency and unbiasedness in arriving at decisions are ensured.
RBSA policy has been introduced which will help to identify the employee with regard to the relevant lapses according to the attributable role they have played in discharging duties.
Structured Meeting with CMD is being held regularly about the pending cases at Head Office level. Several policy decisions have been discussed and implemented to strengthen the vigilance administration.
Deliberations about the pending issues by CVO with the Adviser, CVC, are periodically held to minimize outstanding cases.
During the visit in connection with agreed list, CVO discussed the matter with respective HOB, CBI of the concerned area about the frauds taking place in specific areas. Further, CBI officials were also called to interact with the bank officials at regular intervals.
The pending vigilance cases are being reviewed by the Committee of Directors, PNB Board at every quarter. During these meetings, the board is reviewing more than one year old cases and suggesting the steps to be taken in disposal of such cases.
PNB has created of History in Vigilance Administration through Lowest Ever-"Outstanding Vigilance Cases in 21st Century in PNB", i.e., 385 outstanding Vigilance Cases as on 31.03.15 as compared with 471 outstanding Vigilance Cases at the beginning of the century as on 31.03.2001 and against the highest outstanding Vigilance Cases of 1312 as on 31.03.2012. This was made possible due to concerted and assiduous efforts of all concerned and cooperation of respective Disciplinary Authorities. As on 31.03.2012 there were 669 Charge Sheets pending and 97 other vigilance cases were pending for more than one year at Bank level. Some charge sheets at bank level were more than 2-3 years old. As on 31.03.2015, the aforesaid 669 cases were brought down to 245 and aforesaid 97 more than one year cases brought down to NIL respectively.
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Risk taking is an integral part of the business of banking.The purpose of vigilance activity in Public Sector Banks (PSBs) is not to stifle such ability or obstruct the achievement of organizational goals and objectives but to enhance the managerial effectiveness, both at micro as well as at the macro levels. Considering the special needs of Banking and in order to address the problems faced in the day-to-day functioning, the special chapter on vigilance management for Public Sector Banks has been prepared and rules clearly defined by the Central Vigilance Commission.
The monitoring of the vigilance activities, implementation of the anti-corruption measures in the Public Sector, maintenance of purity, integrity and probity in the Public Sector viz, Public Sector Undertakings, Central Government Departments, Ministries and Public Sector Banks is done by the Government through Central Vigilance Commission. It acts as the apex body for exercising general superintendence and control over the vigilance matters in administration.The Commission exercises a general check and supervision over vigilance cases and anti corruption work in the organizations within its jurisdiction
The Commission`s jurisdiction is co-terminus with the executive powers of the Union.It can undertake any inquiry into any transaction in which a public servant is suspected or alleged to have acted for an improper or corrupt purpose; or cause such an inquiry or investigation to be made into any complaint of corruption, gross negligence, misconduct, recklessness, lack of integrity or other kinds of mal-practices or misdemeanours on the part of a public servant.The Commission tenders appropriate advice to the concerned Disciplinary Authority in all such matters.
For practical considerations, the Commission has restricted its jurisdiction to the officers of the rank of scale V and above in the public sector banks.However, in composite cases involving officials who fall in the Commission`s jurisdiction along with others who do not, the case as a whole has to be referred to the Commission for its advice.Such composite references enable the Commission to take an overall view of the individual accountabilities in the transaction.
The officials working in the Bank`s subsidiaries are also covered under the Vigilance setup of the parent Bank.
Cases of officials of the rank of scale V and above,as well as of others who do not fall within the CVC`s jurisdiction but by virtue of being involved in a composite case as mentioned in para 1.3 above are required to be referred to the commission.All references to Central Vigilance Commission by the Bank shall be through the CVO/Vigilance Department.
Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) has modified the definition of the vigilance angle in the role of the officials of the Bank keeping in view the paradigm shift in their functions. As per this revised definition, vigilance angle is obvious in the following acts:
There are, however, other irregularities where circumstances will have to be weighed carefully to take a view whether the officer`s integrity is in doubt. Gross or wilful negligence; recklessness in decision making; blatant violations of systems and procedures; exercise of discretion in excesswhere no ostensible / public interest is evident; failure to keep the controlling authority / superiors informed in time – these are some of the irregularities where the Disciplinary Authority with the help of the Chief Vigilance Officer (CVO) should carefully study the case and weigh the circumstancesto come to a conclusion whether there is reasonable ground to doubt the integrity of the Officer concerned.
Any undue / unjustified delay in the disposal of a case, perceived after considering all relevant factors, would reinforce a conclusion as to the presence of vigilance angle in a case.
The background / idea behind vigilance activity is not to reduce but to enhance the level of managerial efficiency and effectiveness in the organization. Commercial risk taking forms part of business. Therefore, every loss caused to the organization, either in pecuniary or non-pecuniary terms, need not necessarily become the subject matter of a vigilance enquiry. Thus, whether a person of common prudence, working within the ambit of the prescribed rules, regulations and instructions, would have taken the decision in the prevailing circumstances in the Commercial / operational interests of the organization is one possible criterion for determining the bonafides of the case. A positive response to this question may indicate the existence of bonafides. A negative reply, on the other hand, might indicate their absence.
Absence of vigilance angle in various acts of omission and commission does not mean that the concerned official is not liable to face consequences of his actions. All such lapses not attracting vigilance angle would, indeed, have to be dealt with appropriately as per the disciplinary procedure under the service rules.
The guidelines of the CVC envisage that each bank will set up an `Internal Advisory Committee` (IAC) of 3 members (preferably at the level of GMs but not below the rank of Dy. General Managers) to scrutinize the complaints received in the bank and also the cases arising out of inspections, audits etc. for determination of existence of the vigilance angle or otherwise in specific transactions. In our bank, the Inspection & Audit Division, HO is the nodal division for placing the cases before the IAC.
The process for determination of vigilance overtone in the role of any official corresponding to anyactionable lapse comprises of the following stages
In case there is a difference of opinion between the CVO and the Disciplinary Authority regarding determination of existence of vigilance overtone, the issue should be initially referred to the CMD of the Bank through CVO for resolution of the difference in respect of the officials not falling within the purview of the Commission. If the difference still persists the same may be referred to the Commission for a final view. However, such issues be referred to the Commission in respect of the officials coming under the jurisdiction of the Commission (Scale V & above).
In case the vigilance overtone is perceived by the DA in agreement with the CVO (whether initially or after reconsideration), a vigilance case is registered at the Vigilance Department and where vigilance overtone is not perceived by the DA in agreement with the CVO, further action is initiated against the officials in a manner deemed appropriate by the DA / the Administrative Authority under non vigilance category. The following points are also required to be kept in view by the DA:
The Commission has decided that only such vigilance cases in which an Officer of the level of scale-V & above is involved, are required to be referred to the Commission for advice through Chief Vigilance Officer. However, in case if there is involvement of official of the level of Scale-IV or below in the same matter in which an officer of scale V or above is involved, the Commission`s advice would be necessary for all the officials. These cases are categorized as `CVC Composite Cases`.
All the cases of officials upto the level of Scale-IV or which do not fall within the direct jurisdiction of the Commission are required to be referred to the CVO for concurrence before any action is taken against them. The cases under this category are known as `Non-CVC cases`.
(It may also be mention that failure to refer the cases to CVO can invite Disciplinary Action against the DA)
All vigilance cases are required to be referred to the CVO / CVC for 1st & 2nd stage advice by the DA.
The 1st stage reference shall be made by the DA to the Vigilance Department, HO for seeking advice of CVO / CVC for the nature of the penalty proceedings proposed to be initiated. The second stage reference is made by the DA seeking advice of the CVO/CVC in finalising the concerned vigilance disciplinary action case either by way of imposition of major penalty / minor penalty or otherwise.
The Commission at present is being consulted at two stages in vigilance cases/ disciplinary proceedings, i.e., First Stage is obtained on receipt of investigation reports and Second Stage advice is obtained on receipt of enquiry reports before a final decision is taken on conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings.
As per the revised procedure on Consultation with CVC for First Stage Advice, it has been decided by the Commission that henceforth after enquiry / investigation by the CVO in complaints / matters relating to Scale-V officers as well as composite cases, wherein Scale-IV and below officers are also involved along with Scale –V and/or above officers , if the allegations, on inquiry do not indicate prima facie vigilance angle/ corruption and relate to purely non-vigilance/administrative lapses, the cases would be decided by the CVO and the DA concerned of the Bank. The CVO`s reports recommending administrative/ disciplinary action in non-vigilance/ administrative lapses would, therefore, be submitted to the DA and if the DA agrees to the recommendation of the CVO, the case would be finalised at the level of the Bank. In all such matters, no reference would be required to be made to the Commission seeking its first stage advice. However, in case there is a difference of opinion between the CVO and the DA as to the presence of vigilance angle, the matter as also enquiry report on complaints having vigilance angle though unsubstantiated would continue to be referred to the Commission for first stage advice
As regards Second Stage Consultation with the CVC, the Commission on a further review of the consultation mechanism and to provide speedy finalisation of disciplinary proceedings, has now decided to dispense with the consultation for second stage advice of the Commission in cases where the DA on conclusion of disciplinary proceedings, proposes to impose a penalty which is in line with the Commission`s first stage advice in respect of officers falling within the jurisdiction of the Commission also. Such cases would, henceforth be dealt at the level of CVO and DA concerned in the Bank. However, the CVO should forward an action taken report along with a copy of IA`s findings and the final order issued by the DA in all such cases of officers for Commission`s record. It is further clarified that all such cases where the DA proposes to take any action , which is at variance with the Commission`s first stage advice would continue to be referred to the Commission for obtaining second stage advice.
By dispensing with the requirement of seeking second stage advice in regard to categories of officers as aforesaid, the Commission expects that (i) the CVO would be in a position to exercise proper check and supervision over such cases and would ensure that the cases are disposed of expeditiously within the time norms stipulated by the Commission, and (ii) the punishment awarded to the concerned officer is commensurate with the gravity of misconduct established on his/her part. In order to ensure that the Commission`s expectations are fully met, the Commission may depute its officers to conduct vigilance audit through onsite visits. If the Commission comes across any matter which in its opinion, has not been handled properly, it may recommend its review by appropriate authority or may give such directions as it considers appropriate.
The Commission has advised that the DAs, exercising disciplinary powers, to issue the orders which are self-contained, speaking and reasoned indicating due application of mind by them.
The Appellate Authority (AA) is expected to keep the advice tendered by the Commission and decide on the appeal. In case the Appellate Authority decides to deviate from the advice given by the commission on appeal, the CVO will report to the Commission, which will take an appropriate view whether the deviation is serious enough to be included in its Annual Report.
CVC has prescribed the time frame for various action points .The time limit so given by the Commission represents the outer limit for the given action point. Undue delays may result in departmental action against the concerned officials. ( Please refer to Page Nos 28-29 of Special Chapter on Vigilance Management in Public Sector Banks)
The timelines given by our Bank for Disposal of Vigilance Disciplinary Action Cases are contained in Personnel Administration Division Circular Letter no. 10/2013 dated 05.09.2013.
In case of any delay in referring the cases for 1st or 2nd stage advice to Vigilance Department, HO, the DA will have to specifically comment on the delay.
Frauds of Rs.1.00 Crore & above perpetrated with a criminal intention by any bank official, either alone or in collusion with insiders / outsiders including the following are to be classified as vigilance "F". Following is the illustrative list :
Care: These cases have to be decided within 4 months.
A Vigilance Officer (VO) is posted in each ZAO and he / she extends assistance to the CVO and the Vigilance Deptt. in investigating / following up of vigilance issues. Offices / Circle may, if necessary, refer to him issues regarding vigilance matter. His functions are broadly as under :
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Although the CBI has powers to take up any fraud case for investigation irrespective of the amount of loss involved, in order to maximize the effectiveness of investigations, presently the following guidelines are to be followed:-
Where staff involvement is prima facie evident- CBI (Anti Corruption Branch)
Where staff involvement is prima facie not evident-CBI (Economic Offences Wing)
The above limits should be followed meticulously.
Cases of Rs. 3.00 Crore and above should be reported to CBI after permission from CMD (through FRMD, HO) and after getting draft approved from Vigilance / Law Division.
In addition to the above mandatory references, CVO in consultation with CMD may refer a case involving less than Rs.3.00 crore or a case which cannot be classified on monetary limits, to the CBI, if in the opinion of the CVO, the case is of serious nature and / or has an inter-state or international ramification*The complaint / FIR with police can be lodged only with the prior concurrence / approval of Circle Head (Circle).
If the matter / case warrant reporting to CBI, the Circle Head should submit the proposal to FRMD, HO along with full facts of the case for processing and placing the case to CMD through CVO for his decision in the matter.
The complaints / FIR with CBI can be lodged only with the prior concurrence / approval of CMD, if the allegations:
(For detailed guidelines, FRMD, HO Circular No 02/2014 dated 02.01.2014, regarding Revision in Policy for Fraud Risk Management & Investigation Functions (FRMIF) may please be referred.)
The Department prepares & maintains the `List of Officers of Doubtful Integrity` (LODI). Besides this, a list of officials against whom there are complaints, doubts or suspicion as regards their honesty or integrity (Agreed List) is also prepared by the Department in consultation with CBI. These lists are prepared in accordance with Government guidelines and it is ensured that officers appearing in these lists are not posted in sensitive positions.
Under Section 19 of Prevention of Corruption Act, it is necessary for the prosecuting authority to have the previous sanction of the appropriate administrative authority for launching prosecution against a public servant. The officials of the bank are `public servants`, within the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The requirement of previous sanction is intended to afford a reasonable protection to public servant from frivolous, malicious or vexatious prosecution and to save him from unnecessary harassment or undue hardship. The administrative authority alone is in a position to assess and weigh the accusation against the background of their own intimate knowledge of the work and conduct of the official. The sanctioning authority has an absolute discretion to grant or to withhold sanction after satisfying himself whether the material placed before it discloses a prima facie case against the officials sought to be prosecuted. The grant of sanction or refusal of prosecution is given by the competent authority after a clear-cut application of mind as the same is an administrative function performed in a quasi-judicial manner. The competent authority should, therefore, record reasons even in cases where sanction for prosecution is not accorded. The Sanctioning Authority has only to see whether the facts would prima-facie constitutes the offence. The question of giving opportunity to the employee at this stage does not arise.
In terms of the Supreme Court directives, the matter with regard to according permission to prosecute an officer should be expeditiously processed and required sanction accorded within a period of three months [outer limit]. In case, the Disciplinary Authority takes a view different from that of the CBI/Police/State CIDs/Economic offences Wing of State Police, a reference is required to be made to the CVC through CVO for advice of CVC irrespective of the level of the official involved. It may be noted that when the Bank refuses permission for sanction of prosecution as requested for by CBI, the issue may come up for arbitration at CVC. The Bank would be required to defend its decision with documentary proof, if called for. Hence, DA should be extremely careful in taking a decision in this regard.
Further, where the investigation has been made by State Police authorities involving a Central Government Employee (including Bank Officials) request for sanction for prosecution of the Competent Authority may be considered, even though such request was not routed through CBI.
In case of difference of opinion between the Competent Authority and the CBI/other investigation agencies, where the latter has sought for sanction of prosecution of the Public Servant, the Commission on a review of existing mechanism has decided to dispense with the mechanism of holding joint meetings with the representatives of CBI and the concerned Department / Organisation and henceforth all such matters of difference of opinion with CBI/ investigation agencies would be dealt and resolved by the commission on the basis of available documents / materials and the tentative views of the Competent Authorities of the concerned Ministry/ Department/ Organisation .
In order to ensure that the cases for grant of sanction of prosecution are decided quickly, the Commission would , therefore, entertain only those cases for reconsideration wherein new facts or circumstances which warrant any change are brought out by the Competent Authorities / administrative authorities specifically while making such proposals to the Commission.
The following jobs/ works under taken are to be reported to CTEs in the Quarterly Progress Reports (QPRs) on the prescribed proforma :
It should also be certified that all the works / purchase / consultancy and other contracts in progress as per the above prescribed monetary limits are included in the QPR and in case monetary value of such work is less than the limits prescribed above, the report of two largest works in progress in each discipline should be reported.
The Commission had issued specific directions that the use of information technology be maximised so as to eliminate the personal interaction of Government officials with public, with a view to increase the element of transparency in functioning and to ensure elimination of the corrupt practices by the public servants. For improving vigilance administration by leveraging technology, the Commission issued the following broad guidelines.
All the tenders are to be floated/ placed on the website of the Bank.
The summary of all the procurements with threshold limit of Rs.5.00 lac and above as approved by CMD, is required to be placed on the website of the Bank.
Complete information with regard to laws, rules and procedures governing the issue of licences, permissions, clearances, etc. are to be placed on the website of the organization. Similarly, all application forms/ proformas should be made available on the website in the downloadable form. Besides this, all documents/ information to be provided by the applicant should be clearly explained on the website and should also form part of the application form. As far as possible, arrangement should be put in place so that immediately on receipt of the application, the applicant is informed about the deficiencies, if any, in documents/information submitted. It had also been added that repeated queries in a piecemeal manner should be viewed as a misconduct having vigilance angle and that the organisations should give adequate publicity about these facilities in newspapers and such advertisements must give the website address of the organisation concerned.
The status of the individual applications/ matters should be made available on the organisation`s website and should be updated from time to time so that the applicants remain duly informed about the latest status of their application.
The guidelines of the Commission for tender are clear that for engaging any work / project for the organization, transparency, competitiveness and fair practices should be ensured.
The Central Vigilance Commission has banned post tender negotiations. Negotiations, if at all with L1, shall be an exception only in the case of proprietary items or in the case of items with limited source of supply with prior concurrence of the competent authority. Counter offers tantamount to negotiations and should be treated at par with negotiations.
Negotiations with L1, can be recommended in exceptional circumstances only after due application of mind and recording valid, logical reasons justifying negotiations. In case of inability to obtain the desired results by way of reduction in rates and negotiations are rendered futile, satisfactory explanations are required to be recorded by the Committee, which recommended the negotiations. The Committee shall be responsible for lack of application of mind in case its negotiations have only unnecessarily delayed the award of work / contract.
If the quantity to be ordered is much more than L-1 alone can supply then in such cases, the quantity ordered may be distributed in such a manner that fairness, transparency and equitable distribution is ensured.
On the question of considering the L-2 offer, if L-1 withdraws his offer before the work order is placed, or before the supply or execution of work order takes place, it is clarified that such a situation may be avoided if a two bid system is followed (techno/commercial) so that proper assessment of the offers is made before the award of work order. Therefore, if L-1 backs out, there should be re-tendering in a transparent and fair manner. The authority may, in such a situation, call for limited or short notice tender if so justified in the interest of work and take a decision on the basis of lowest tender.
The consideration of offer of single technically acceptable bidder is not prohibited provided tendering process has been followed in a fair, just and transparent manner and the rate received is considered reasonable.
In case any difficulty is found in the application of any of the guidelines of the Commission in this regard, specific case with a proposed generic solution may be referred for the examination by the CVO / CVC. The issues of general nature having elements of managerial decision making and concerning a particular procurement may be examined and decision be taken at the level of Circle Office.
The Commission (CVC) has emphasized that its guidelines are mandatory in nature and all out efforts are required to be made to ensure that they are not only implemented timely but also in letter and spirit.
In terms of Clause 20(2) of PNB Officer Employees` (Conduct) Regulations, 1977, it is incumbent upon every officer employee to submit the complete returns of his / her movable, immovable and valuable property including liquid assets, like shares, debentures (Assets & Liabilities Statement) as on 31st March every year. These returns are to be submitted by 30th June every year.
All the officers working in the bank should file their Assets & Liabilities as on 31st March in PNB Parivar (HRMS) by using the link `Assets & Liabilities" available under `Employees Self Service´ and also to print the same for submission of the same to the competent authority in physical form after appending their signatures.
It is the responsibility of the Circle Head / Divisional Head of HO Divisions to ensure that the return is not only received in time from all the officials under their respective jurisdictions but is also scrutinized carefully as per the Government guidelines (20 % of the returns) as a part of Preventive Vigilance.
Circle Heads and Divisional Heads are required to send confirmation to the Chief Vigilance Officer, HO that all the Officers upto MMG Scale-III working in the Circle Office/Division have filed Assets & Liabilities Return for the year and 20 % of the Returns have been scrutinized as per Govt. guidelines, latest by 31st July.
All officers in Senior Management Grade and Top Executive Grade i.e. Scale-IV & above are to file the returns with the Chief Vigilance Officer, Vigilance Department, Head Office, N Delhi.
For broad guidelines and clarifications relating to Vigilance Administration in the Bank, it is advised to regularly visit website of Central Vigilance Commission at www.cvc.nic.in.
Note of Caution : All concerned are requested to refer to relevant extant HO/ CVC guidelines/ circulars
Click here for Central Vigilance Commission Website
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