Banking

Raghuram Rajan Says Swamy’s Attacks  ‘Abominable’, Was Open to Extension at RBI

New Delhi: Describing the political attacks on him as abominable, outgoing Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan said on Monday that he had been open to staying a bit longer to complete the unfinished work of cleaning up the banking system, but is perfectly happy to go when his tenure ends next month.

Rajan, who had in June decided against seeking a second term after his 3-year tenure comes to an end in September,  said the process of dialogue with the government did not reach a stage where he could have agreed to stay on.

He said, however, that he was never worried about reappointment or a future career in government and did the best in the interest of the country and that he was a “best team player”.

Rajan, who plans to return to academia after his term ends on September 4, said the time he had spent at university made him “pretty thick skinned”, but the attacks then were not abominable.

“Some of these (recent) attacks were abominable, that is imputing sort of motives, alleging things completely without any basis,” he told CNBC-TV18, adding that he put them aside and did not pay any attention to them.

Towards the end of his three-year tenure, Rajan faced personal attacks from BJP MP Subramanian Swamy, who had alleged that the former IMF chief economist was “mentally not fully Indian” and had sent confidential and sensitive financial information abroad.

Rajan said that when people asked him if he was open to a second term, he answered that although he had structured all his initiatives at the RBI with a three-year horizon in mind, there was some unfinished work – like the public sector banks’ balance sheet clean-up and  the setting up of  the new monetary policy committee framework.

“That does not mean in any way, that I was absolutely hell bent on having a second term,” he said. “I was open for staying a little while longer to see them complete, but at the same time I was perfectly happy to go.”

Rajan said 90-95% of the job that he had taken on was complete and he had absolute freedom in doing his work.

On his future plans, he said: “I have said again and again, I am fundamentally a academician. This (RBI governor) is my side job”.