Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Global | By Shelia Dennis

Punjab National fraud case: CBI indicts Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, bank officials

Punjab National fraud case: CBI indicts Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, bank officials

The CBI on Monday filed a chargesheet against Allahabad Bank MD and CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian and 21 others, including 11 bank officials, in the over Rs 13,000 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case in which diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi were allegedly involved.

Earlier on Monday, two CBI sources told Reuters that one of the accused was former PNB boss Usha Ananthasubramanian, now the chief executive of Allahabad Bank. According to a CBI charge sheet, the top management at the country's fourth largest bank not only "misrepresented" the factual position on letters of understanding (LoUs) to the RBI but also ignored the apex bank's warnings when credit facilities worth over $2 billion were fraudulently cleared by its branch in Mumbai.

Ananthasubramanian headed PNB between August 2015 and May 2017.She had also served as an Executive Director at PNB between July 2011 and November 2013. Not only this, the PNB board divested its two executive directors, K V Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan, of all executive and financial duties and powers, as confirmed by Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar said.

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At the heart of the PNB fraud was the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) messaging system, which is used by banks worldwide to enable cross-border transactions. "A supplementary chargesheet in this case will focus on the roles of overseas banks in the fraud", the CBI officer said. The CBI said this chargesheet is related only to the FIR against Nirav and his companies - Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds.

The CBI will file second chargesheet in the case, involving Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Gems Ltd, by the end of this week.

So far, 15 persons have been arrested while Modi and Choksi fled the country in January. The first arrest was made by the agency on February 17 that included the alleged key accused Gokulnath Shetty (former deputy General manager of PNB), Manoj Kharat (single window operator of PNB) and Hemant Bhat (authorised signatory of Modi's company).

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The move comes after the Narendra Modi government directed state-owned banks to push out the senior employees named in the CBI charge sheet.

However, both Choksi and Modi are still absconding.

Punjab National Bank said today that its total liability works out to Rs 14,356.84 crore on account of the fraud allegedly carried out by jewellery designer Nirav Modi and associates.

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