Sikkim BJP leader alleges high-level involvement in Rs 69 crore state bank scam

Sikkim BJP leader alleges high-level involvement in Rs 69 crore state bank scam

Sikkim BJP's Passang Sherpa alleged the involvement of the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary in the State Bank of Sikkim (SBS) scam, triggering widespread concern amid revelations of unauthorized transactions amounting to Rs. 69 crore. The scandal, deepening public distrust in SBS, highlights the urgency for an independent investigation and accountability measures within financial institutions to address fraudulent activities and restore trust among stakeholders.

Story highlights
  • Allegations by Sikkim BJP spokesperson Passang Sherpa against the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary of Sikkim regarding their involvement in the State Bank of Sikkim (SBS) scam.
  • Revelation of a significant financial scam amounting to Rs 69 crore at SBS, leading to arrests and calls for an independent investigation.
  • Widespread concern among stakeholders, including pension holders, over the potential impact of the scam on savings and the need for transparency and accountability in financial institutions.

Sikkim BJP spokesperson Passang Sherpa made serious allegations implicating the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary of Sikkim in the State Bank of Sikkim (SBS) scam on May 23,. This scandal has deepened the public's distrust of SBS, which has operated independently of the Reserve Bank of India since its establishment in 1969 by a proclamation from the Chogyal, the former king.

The controversy erupted when SBS was recently embroiled in a Rs 69 crore scam, leading to the arrest of three officers. Sherpa emphasized the need for an independent investigation, claiming the bank has become a money-laundering hub for the government. "Today, many MGNREGA employees and other temporary workers are not receiving their salaries. The caretaker government, including the Chief Secretary, remains silent on these critical issues," Sherpa said. He suggested that if the current administration cannot address these matters, they should step aside.

Sherpa pointed out that Phurba Wangdi Bhutia, the Managing Director of SBS, was seen at a Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) party meeting while still holding his position at the bank. Sherpa called for the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to intervene, vowing to pursue the matter to its conclusion.

Earlier on May 22, Sikkimey Nagarik Samaj exposed a significant financial scam at SBS, involving unauthorized transactions amounting to Rs. 69 crore. This revelation follows an internal audit conducted on March 31, 2024, which identified the fraudulent activities. Despite the audit, it took the bank almost three months to register a First Information Report (FIR), highlighting severe negligence by responsible officials.

The scam has caused widespread concern among customers and stakeholders, especially pension holders, due to the potential impact on their savings. The names of three subordinates from SBS have surfaced on social media as suspects, but there is suspicion that more individuals from within the bank might be involved, suggesting a broader criminal conspiracy.

This is not the first incident of misconduct at SBS. In 2011, a bank official at Rabongla was accused of embezzling interest money from account holders, which only came to light following complaints from the affected customers.

In response to the scam, the Managing Director of SBS downplayed the situation, referring to it as "a very small issue," which has further aggravated public concern. Sikkimey Nagarik Samaj has called for a comprehensive and impartial investigation into the fraud, urging SBS to initiate legal proceedings against all loan defaulters and enhance transparency.

Edited By: sanchayaita roy
Published On: May 23, 2024