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Probe on for PNB’s additional fraud case

Author: IANS/Wednesday, February 28, 2018/Categories: Banking & Financial Services

Probe on for PNB’s additional fraud case

New Delhi/Mumbai, Feb 27 - The CBI on February 27 said it has questioned former Punjab National Bank (PNB) Managing Director Usha Ananthasubramanian and ICICI Bank Executive Director N.S. Kanan in connection with the over Rs 12,600-crore bank fraud case.

A Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official said Ananthasubramanian was quizzed at the agency's Mumbai office. 

Ananthasubramanian is currently the CEO and MD of Allahabad Bank and also the chief of the Indian Banks' Association.

"The agency also questioned the ICICI Bank Executive Director because it was the leader of a consortium of banks that sent money to Mehul Choksi's Gitanjali Group," the official said.

According to CBI officials, a loan totalling Rs 5,000 crore was given to the Gitanjali Group in 2016 by a consortium of 34 banks.

The official said the ICICI Bank had an exposure of about Rs 773 crore and the PNB over Rs 500 crore. 

But, the ICICI Bank in a statement said that it has not issued any Letter of Undertaking (LOU) nor does it have any buyer's credit exposure against LOUs with respect to the Nirav Modi group of companies as well as the Gitanjali group of companies.

"We are working capital lenders to the Gitanjali group of companies along with several other banks in the consortium. And our exposure to the Gitanjali group of companies is not the largest among lenders in the consortium," the bank said.

"We are fully co-operating with the investigating agencies in their efforts," the ICICI Bank added.

The agency official also said that the CBI received a complaint from the PNB alleging a loss of Rs 1,251 crore -- all linked to the Gitanjali Group.

Besides, two PNB General Managers Nehal Ahad and Vimlesh Kumar were also questioned, apart from two statutory auditors of the PNB, in the case.

On February 26, the CBI questioned three statutory auditors and two General Managers of PNB.

Earlier in the day, the Income Tax department also said that it has filed prosecution cases against Nirav Modi under various sections of the IT Act, 1961. 

According to the IT officials, the tax agency prayed for a Non-Bailable Warrant (NBW) against Nirav Modi for his failure to comply with the summons issued by it in a Mumbai court. 

"The court has decided to issue summons to Nirav," an IT official said.

The CBI had filed the first FIR in the scam on February 14 against Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal, uncle Mehul Choksi and his firms Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamond.

Nirav Modi, his family and Choksi left the country in early January. The FIR mentions fraud of around Rs 6,400 crore.

The CBI filed a second FIR on February 15 for Rs 4,886.72 crore fraud against the Gitanjali Group headed by Choksi.

The official said the CBI had written to the Chief Vigilance Officers of five banks to share details of money credited to Nostro accounts of PNB on receiving Letters of Undertaking and Foreign Letters of Credit, which were then withdrawn by Nirav and Choksi's group as buyers' credit.

The agency has till date arrested 12 persons in the case.


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Kavita Giridhar Mallya


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