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PNB probe gets murkier: CBI grills ICICI Bank executive director N S Kannan in Rs 12,636 cr banking fraud

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday called in for questioning former Punjab National Bank (PNB) managing director Usha Ananth in the biggest fraud in India’s banking history that has come to light, news wire ANI reported.

Punjab National Bank. AP

Punjab National Bank. AP

Apart from Ananth, two serving general managers were also questioned at the CBI headquarters in Mumbai. According to the ANI, a senior official of the ICICI Bank was summoned to the CBI office in Mumbai. N S Kannan, executive director ICICI bank, was the leader of consortium of the bank that lent money to Gitanjali Group, it has been alleged.

Meanwhile, ICICI Bank in a press release said it has 'no exposure' to the Nirav Modi group of companies. It said: "We have not issued any Letter of Undertaking (LOU) nor do we 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. Our exposure to the Gitanjali group of companies is not the largest among lenders in the consortium. We are fully co-operating with the investigating agencies in their efforts," it said.

The CBI has also revealed that the PNB has informed the agency that it has unearthed a further scam of Rs 1,251 crore which has been associated with the gems and jewellery company Gitanjali Gems, promoted by another key accused Mehul Choksi.

With the new revelations surfacing, the CBI has revised its estimate for total money that was siphoned off in the fraud. It is now probing a Rs 12,636 crore scam which is the collective fraud committed by Nirav Modi and Gitanjali Gems brands, up from an earlier fraud of Rs 11,421 crore.

The Punjab National Bank on 14 February 2018, shocked the entire banking fraternity when it informed the stock exchanges that it has detected a Rs 11,400 crore fraudulent transaction at its Brady House Branch in Mumbai. Sunil Mehta, chief executive officer and MD, had at a press conference said that the scam was a one-off fraud and there was no such incident at other branches.

On Tuesday, media outlets reported that key accused Nirav Modi has put his Firestar Internationla global brand up for bankruptcy proceedings in the United States. Modi has listed the assets and liabilities of the Firestar International with a value in the range of $50 million to $100 million.


Updated Date: Feb 28, 2018 09:51 AM

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