Punjab National Bank to honour claims from peer banks by March-end, but with conditions

The Punjab National Bank (PNB) will honour claims by peer banks who issued credit to billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi against guarantees given by PNB, but the payments come with riders.

PNB, the second-biggest Indian state-run lender, uncovered in January the alleged fraud in which certain bank officials were suspected of colluding with Modi and Choksi to issue fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs) for their firms to raise loans from overseas branches of mostly Indian banks.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

Both Modi and Choksi have denied wrongdoing, and so have two key accused PNB employees in the case that has been dubbed as India’s largest ever bank fraud.

The Economic Times, citing sources, said PNB has agreed to honour claims due by end-March but has mandated that peer banks will have to pay PNB if investigative authorities prove that there was malafide intent on the part of these banks.

On Monday, it was reported that some 30 banks paid out funds based on letters of understandings (LoUs) issued by the Punjab National Bank (PNB) on behalf of billionaire diamantaire Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and their companies.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, headed by Congress member M Veerappa Moily, in a report, had said that "international branches of many Indian banks including State Bank of India, Union Bank of India, Allahabad Bank, Axis Bank and some foreign banks, lent money to a particular entity or many entities or companies based on these alleged fraudulent guarantees."

PNB did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

About 60 billion rupees ($924.14 million) is due to these banks by end of March, The Economic Times said.

State Bank of India and three other state-run banks, Union Bank of India, UCO Bank and Allahabad Bank, are among lenders who have extended credit based on the LoUs issued by PNB that were later found to be fraudulent.

With inputs from Reuters


Published Date: Mar 13, 2018 12:04 PM | Updated Date: Mar 13, 2018 12:04 PM

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