Friday, 22 March, 2019

CBI arrests Punjab National Bank's GM-rank officer in fraud case

A woman looks on as CBI team seals Punjab National Bank's South Mumbai branch at Brady House in Mumbai on Monday. The PNB fraud case involving jeweller Nirav Modi was allegedly carried out of this branch. PTI CBI arrests Punjab National Bank's GM-rank officer in fraud case
Patty Aguilar | 21 February, 2018, 07:21

Since then, the loans and guarantees would have increased over the past year and the total "hit" to Indian banks "may well exceed" $3 billion, according to an internal note prepared by the tax authority on its preliminary investigation into India's biggest bank fraud case. The bank has named Nirav Modi's brother, his American wife Ami, and uncle Mehul Choksi besides some others in the FIR.

He also said that the agency is examining if the money taken from the bank was diverted to these shell companies.

"I have studied the case file and this case will have a similar fate like that of the 2G and Bofors".

The scam came out into the open on 14 February 2018, when the state-run bank informed the stock exchanges.

Asked about his legal strategy, he said: "Until there is no chargesheet, there is no strategy".

The scam was dubbed as the largest in the history of the country's banking industry. It did not name the banks.

The bank has said that the two employees arrested by police colluded with companies belonging to jeweller Modi and another jeweller Mehul Choksi. "Why would anyone flee, leaving assets worth Rs 5000 to 6000 crore for the Enforcement Directorate to recover", advocate Vijay Aggarwal, who represents Modi, told PTI on phone. Gitanjali, in a regulatory filing, denied Choksi's involvement in the alleged fraud. Neither Modi nor Choksi have so far commented on the allegations.

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The fraud case has wiped off $1.7 billion, or more than a quarter, of PNB's market value.

"We will resolve the rating watch once more clarity emerges on the extent of control failures and the impact on PNBs financial position", Fitch said, adding it will monitor the banks full liability, potential recoveries and the extent of additional fresh capital needed to determine if its financial position is no longer consistent with the current viability rating.

"CBI must get fair chance to investigate this very serious offence, which has consequences for the country's economy", said judge SR Tamboli, as PNB employee Shetty shifted nervously and blinked frequently.

No one has yet been charged.

State-owned PNB has been rocked by the fraud involving billionaire diamond jeweler Nirav Modi who allegedly acquired fraudulent Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) from a branch in Mumbai to secure overseas credit from other Indian lenders. The risks arising from the potential malicious use of the SWIFT infrastructure, created by banks for their genuine business needs, has always been a component of their operational risk profile.

PNB's CEO Sunil Mehta had earlier said that Nirav has made some "vague" offers for repayment of the loan but they are unacceptable to the bank.

The party leaders, however, said the Modi government was aware of the public mood and trying to take corrective measures, including activating all the agencies concerned to recover the defrauded amount.

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