Economy

Nirav Modi scam: CBI names PNB ex-chief in chargesheet, and others

Nirav Modi scam: CBI names PNB ex-chief in chargesheet, and others

After three FIRs and 19 arrests, the CBI is all set to file its first chargesheet in the Rs. 12,600cr Punjab National Bank (PNB) loan fraud case involving jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Monday divested responsibilities of two of its current Executive Directors-Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan-named in the CBI chargesheet filed on the Nirav Modi perpetrated fraud.

Billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi is at the centre of the over $2 billion PNB fraud. Nirav's employees Vipul Ambani and Kavita Manikar are also listed as accused, but the agency has left out Nirav's wife, Ami.

A similar fraud was detected in 2016, in which funds under the garb of LoUs were transferred in favour of a Hong-Kong-based company, purportedly issued by the Chandigarh branch of a nationalised bank to overseas branches of two other nationalised banks, including PNB.

According to the revised PCA guidelines released previous year, if a lender enters "risk threshold 3", it may be a candidate for amalgamation, reconstruction or could even be wound up.

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So far, 15 persons have been arrested while Modi and Choksi fled the country in January. More than 80 witnesses have been examined.

The chargesheet named senior Indian bank officials, following which the court would now be tasked with deciding which charges should apply to the accused. Chartered Accountant Subhash Kumar Rambia has also been charged with not mentioning loans of Rs 1,700 crore taken by each of the three accused companies in their books, it said. The transactions happened without any sanctioned limit or cash margin and without making any entries in the bank's CBS system. Of the total misappropriated amount, Rs 6,498.2 crore has been attributed to Nirav.

The agency also made it clear that the naming of Ananthasubramanian in the charge sheet does not mean that her predecessors have been given clean chit as the investigation is going on, they said. According to a report, the finance ministry on Monday began the process to remove Ananthasubramanian from the top post at Allahabad Bank.

Venkatachalam does not agree with the view that RBI was misled by PNB officials on the possible misuse of LoU. Internal auditors Mohinder Sharma and Bishnubrata Mishra sat in the same room with Shetty, but did not point out the system failures or illegalities and chartered accountants did not raise red flags over unsecured loans.

Earlier on May 3, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told the Delhi High Court that the affidavits filed by Modi's uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi's firm Gitanjali Gems in the court were 'false and misleading'.