Prakash Bakshi was made the Chairman of NABARD despite serious vigilance cases pending against him during his tenure as the Executive Director, NABARD. One case pertained to the release of Rs. 100 crore on 31.12.2008 to Andhra Pradesh Cooperative Bank (APCOB) as a clean advance, which is not allowed as per NABARD’s policy and therefore illegal.
Sources in NABARD say Mr. Bakshi has sanctioned Rs. 37 crore towards publicity for FY 2011-12, when there is no product to advertise. A firm called Concept Communication has been empanelled as NABARD’s advertising agency on a single bidding basis, which violates the process of inviting tenders and selecting based on credibility, performance and lowest quotation. NABARD has replied to RTI queries on this matter that “an amount of Rs. 10 crore is annually approved for public relations each year.” This is despite the fact that NABARD’s advertising spend in the last 30 years never exceeded Rs 1. crore, even though several resource mobilisation products like Bhavishya Nirman Bonds, Capital Gains Bonds, Rural Bonds and others needed to be advertised.
File notings available with The Hindu reveal that Mr. Bakshi, despite having two apartments — one in central Mumbai and the other in Bandra-Kurla complex — had his third residential apartment in Santa Cruz renovated at a cost of over Rs. 25 lakh after merging two adjoining flats. An RTI reply on this furnished by NABARD skirts these facts by responding that no enlargement has taken place and only normal civil and electrical repairs have taken place at a cost of Rs. 18,88,366. Mr. Bakshi then went on to have his Chairman’s suite in New Delhi renovated at a cost of Rs. 64 lakh. RTI responses which are clearly at variance with the facts, communicated an outlay of just Rs. 29,110. The official limit for furnishing of the Chairman’s flat as per NABARD’s expenditure rules is Rs. 3.5 lakh.
RTI queries blocked
NABARD has now started blocking RTI requests. The Bank refuses to entertain any more requests for information pertaining to its Chairman or its policies concerning business and development.