Mumbai: Yes Bank’s audit committee chairman Uttam Prakash Agarwal on Friday resigned as independent director, citing concerns regarding the deteriorating standard of corporate governance at the private lender.
In a letter to the regulators, Agarwal said, “There are serious concerns as regards deteriorating standards of the corporate governance, failure of compliance, management practices and the manner in which the state of affairs of the company are being conducted by Ravneet Gill, MD & CEO, Rajeev Uberoi, senior group president governance & controls, Sanjay Nambiar, legal head and board of directors."
Mint has reviewed the contents of the letter, which was confirmed by Agarwal in an interview to CNBC-TV18.
In his interview, Agarwal also blamed the bank’s management for not disclosing either the identity of investors or the binding agreement to the board, adding that he had expressed his concerns to the board twice before resigning.
Agarwal’s resignation comes at a time when the private sector lender is desperately scouting for capital to stay compliant with Reserve Bank of India’s capital norms. In December 2019, Yes Bank had said its board failed to reach a final decision on potential investors, though it favoured a $500-million offer from Citax Holdings Ltd. The bank had also said it was reviewing another $1.5 billion worth of bids from Canadian businessman Erwin Singh Braich, whose credibility was under question as he faced multiple lawsuits.
That said, questions were also raised about Agarwal’s appointment, especially related to his fit-and-proper status.
On 24 November, Mint had reported that RBI had asked Yes Bank to re-examine fit-and-proper status of Agarwal after it was found that he failed to disclose details of criminal cases filed against him. This comes in the wake of a whistleblower complaint questioning Agarwal’s fit-and-proper status which the bank received in November 2018, soon after he was appointed as an independent director during the tenure of co-founder and former managing director Rana Kapoor.