When I reported at Lucknow branch, I had envisaged that I was in for trouble, as the branch was notorious for poor industrial relations. There were so many other ticklish issues, but what I had not envisaged was the problem created by Mr Balkrishna (BK).
He was ten years my senior, but was one grade lower than me, though he was considered as one of the most intelligent officers of the Bank. Subsequent to my posting as the Chief Manager (Branch Head), BK was also posted in the same branch as Concurrent Auditor. Being well connected, he was accommodated there by the Bank.
The top leader of the Bank’s Union was his batchmate and his elder brother was posted in Lucknow as Police Commissioner. His two brothers were also IAS. His family was considered to be an IAS family. Initially I thought that his connections would be beneficial for my business development, but I was sadly mistaken.
BK was spendthrift. He imbibed the culture of spending from his immediate family. He and his wife competed with his other brothers’ families to enjoy equally high standard of living, but his source of income was limited.
To meet his expenses, he started borrowing money from his colleagues including me. He had no self respect, though he was so senior in the service. I think due to these habits, he couldn’t get promotions like his other batchmates.
He used to drink excessively, and sometimes in the office too. I sent him back whenever I found him drunk, and he obediently followed too, but when his drunken behaviour grew intolerable, I met his elder brother and suggested de-addiction therapy for him.
His brother admitted that BK was an odd one out in the family and called him worthless. But he immediately agreed to my suggestion and the next week, he was admitted to a de-addiction centre.
Incidentally, the rehabilitation centre was located in the building of mental hospital. When I met him there, his wife was also there. I met her for the first time, but she was furious with me, as she thought I was responsible for landing him there. Later I came to know that his wife also used to drink.
It was really surprising as to how his children were doing so well in their academics despite not so pleasant environ at home. One daughter was pursuing MBBS, while another daughter was doing B.Tech, and his son was admitted to IIM, Ahmedabad.
BK came out of the centre, but withdrawal symptoms were easily palpable. He gradually relapsed into the former state. But the point of no return reached, when he committed two frauds, one for making drafts for his daughters’ fees and the other for his own consumption.
The amount of frauds was in thousands only, but a fraud irrespective of the amount is a fraud, and viewed very seriously, as the motive itself becomes questionable. It comes under gross misconduct, for which major penalty is inflicted.
There were pressures from different quarters not to take harsh action against him. Some of the colleagues told me that he was threatening to commit suicide, but I stuck to my guns, and as punishment, he was demoted to the lowest cadre. Subsequently, he took voluntary retirement from the Bank and shifted to his native place.