एचएसबीसी बैंक ने आईपीएस अधिकारी अमिताभ ठाकुर और सामाजिक कार्यकर्ता नूतन ठाकुर द्वारा ‘आप’ कन्वेनर अरविन्द केजरीवाल द्वारा लगाए गए आरोपों के सन्दर्भ में प्रेषित शिकयतों को पूरी तरह गलत बताया है. इन आरोपों में एचएसबीसी द्वारा स्विस बैंकों में काला धन जमा करने में मदद करना, देश में हवाला रैकेट चला कर टैक्स चोरी कराना शामिल हैं. यह भी आरोपित किया गया कि एचएसबीसी, दुबई और जिनेवा के पास भारत में बैंकिंग कार्य करने के लाइसेंस नहीं हैं और उनके भारतीय ऑपरेशन अवैध हैं.
इन आरोपों के आधार पर अमिताभ और नूतन ने आरबीआई को इनकी जांच कर सत्यता पाए जाने पर बैंकिंग रेगुलेशन अधिनियम 1949 की धारा 22(4) के अंतर्गत लाइसेंस निरस्त करने का अनुरोध किया था. आरबीआई ने एचएसबीसी से इन शिकायतों पर तीस दिनों में उत्तर देने को आदेशित किया. इस पर बैंक की मुख्य नोडल अधिकारी सीमा मेहता ने 20 दिसंबर 2012 के अपने पत्र में कहा कि बैंक बहुत गंभीरता से सभी कानूनों का पालन करता है और पिछले साल एक नए वैश्विक लीडरशिप टीम और नयी नीति के बाद से उसने कानूनों का परिपालन कराने को ठोस कदम उठाये हैं.
चूँकि इस पत्र में शिकायतों में उठाये गए किसी भी मूल मुद्दे पर स्थिति स्पष्ट नहीं की गयी थी, अतः अमिताभ और नूतन ने आरबीआई के गवर्नर को पुनः पत्र भेज कर इन आरोपोंकी जांच करने और उचित विधिक कार्यवाही किये जाने की मांग की है.
Second letter to Governor, RBI-
Dr. D. Subbarao
Reserve Bank of India
Mumbai 400 001
Subject- Enquiry and necessary action as regards allegations against Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. (HSBC)
1. That the petitioners No 1 and 2, Amitabh Thakur and Dr Nutan Thakur had presented a very serious matter associated with black money and hawala transactions in assistance with Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd. (HSBC) through their representation No- AT/HSBC/01 dated- 10/11/2012 based on the Press Note of Sri Kejriwal and Sri Bhushan in their Press Conference in New Delhi dated 09/11/2012 where they made some very serious allegations against many persons and the HSBC Bank.
2. That based on this representation, the Reserve Bank of India through its letter dated 21/11/2012 has directed the Nodal Officer to enquire into the matter and take necessary action within a period of 30 days and to intimate the petitioners.
3. That the petitioners got a letter dated 20/12/2012 from Ms Seema Mehta, acting Chief Nodal Officer, HSBC which said that the Bank takes compliance with the law very seriously and with a new senior global leadership team and a new strategy since last year, it takes concrete steps to strengthen compliance, risk management and culture. (Copy of the letter being attached)
4. That from this response, it can be easily seen that the core issues in the compliant are still completely untouched and unanswered and the alleged party has only given a cursory answer to the matter in a few good-sounding words which do not seem to have any meaning.
5. That hence all the allegations as regards facilitating in black money transaction, operating in India without licence and other facts related with allegations of a July 2011 list of roughly 700 people having bank accounts in HSBC, Geneva received by the Indian Government, statements of three persons Shri Parminder Singh Kalra, Shri Praveen Sawhney and Shri Vikram Dhirani revealing that HSBC is openly and brazenly running a hawala racket in India and the October 2011 report sent by Director of Investigations, Delhi to Director General of Investigations, Delhi saying that HSBC officials were indulging in hawala and also encouraging tax evasion in India have not even been touched.
6. That similarly, the allegation that HSBC, Dubai and Geneva do not have a license from RBI to conduct banking operations in India and their operations in India are completely illegal has not been given any consideration, nor has it been explained in the response of the HSBC dated 20/12/2012.
7. That in such conditions, being completely dissatisfied with the response, the petitioners are left with no option than to further pursue this extremely important and sensitive issue related with the country’s financial well-being.
8. That the petitioners were directed by the RBI letter dated 21/11/2012 to approach the Banking Ombudsman, Kanpur in case they do not feel satisfied with the response.
9. That but for various reasons, being explained hereunder the petitioners are not approaching the Banking Ombudsman and are again directly approaching you for necessary action.
10. That this is because the Banking Ombudsman Scheme 2006 was introduced with the object of enabling resolution of complaints relating to certain services rendered by banks and to facilitate the satisfaction or settlement of such complaints. Its prime focus is on ‘award’ and ‘settlement’ defined in Clause 3 of this Scheme. ‘Banking Ombudsman’ means any person appointed under Clause 4 of the Scheme while as per clause 3(6), ‘Complaint’ means a representation in writing or through electronic means containing a grievance alleging deficiency in banking service as mentioned in clause 8.
11. That Clause 8 provides for the Grounds of Complaint. All the grounds are associated with alleged deficiency in banking like non-payment or inordinate delay in the payment or collection of cheques, drafts etc, non-acceptance of notes, coins etc, non-adherence to prescribed working hours, failure to provide or delay in providing a banking facility, refusal to open or close deposit accounts without any valid reason, levying of improper charges, forced closure of deposit accounts; non-adherence to the fair practices code or Reserve Bank guidelines etc. Similarly, a complaint can be made alleging deficiency in banking service in respect of loans and advances regarding non-observance of Reserve Bank Directives on interest rates; delays or non-acceptance of application in sanction and disbursement of loan applications; non-adherence to fair practices codes and Reserve Bank guidelines.
12. That only as regards the above kinds of complaints, the Banking Ombudsman endeavours to promote a settlement of the complaint by agreement between the complainant and the bank through conciliation or mediation as per provisions of Clause 11 or if a complaint is not settled by agreement within a period of one month, he passes an Award or rejects the complaint as per the given facts as per Clause 12 of the Ombudsman Scheme 2006.
13. That the same fact has been reiterated in Clause 7(2) related with Power and jurisdiction of the Ombudsman which says- “The Banking Ombudsman shall receive and consider complaints relating to the deficiencies in banking or other services filed on the grounds mentioned in clause 8 and facilitate their satisfaction or settlement by agreement or through conciliation and mediation between the bank concerned and the aggrieved parties or by passing an Award in accordance with the Scheme.”
14. That it is very obvious that the complaints presented by the petitioners are not related to “the deficiencies in banking or other services” nor do they come among any of the grounds mentioned in clause 8
15. That hence the petitioners find it completely inappropriate on the part of the RBI to have asked them to approach the Banking Ombudsman, in case dissatisfied with HSBC’s response.
16. That instead it is a matter that needs to be taken up and enquired into either at your end or by someone directly deputed by you.
17. That as regards this extremely serious matter presented before you by the petitioners, the minimum that seems to be needed is to get the matter enquired immediately under you personal instructions
18. That as complainants and as people regularly in touch with investigative matters, the petitioners feel that the enquiry shall consist of going through the allegations made by Sri Arvind Kejriwal and Sri Prashant Bhushan, getting their statements as regards the facts presented by them, requesting them to provide the documents on which they based their allegations and contacting the concerned Government Ministry/Department/Agencies mentioned in the statements of Sri Kejriwal and Sri Bhushan, which needs to be followed by seeking explanation from the concerned Bank.
19. That the petitioners feel that instead of passing over the matter to the Banking Ombudsman, without even looking into the fact whether the Ombudsman has an authority over such cases or not, the matter should be taken up with utmost seriousness and all necessary steps be taken to go deep into the matter and to find out the truth as regards the extremely serious and damaging allegations made against HSBC, which are directly related with the financial security and economic well-being of the country and its people.
20. That thus the petitioners once again pray before you to take cognizance of this representation and the accompanied Annexure (Press Note by Sri Kejriwal and Sri Bhushan) to enquire into the matter immediately and to cancel the licence granted to Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Ltd, in case the allegations as contained in the annexed Press Note are found to be true
Lt No-AT/HSBC/01 Yours,
1. Amitabh Thakur
5/426, Viram Khand,
# 94155-34526, 94155-34525
1. The Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, New Delhi
2. The Principal Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, Government of India, New Delhi