ICICI's Chanda Kochhar, Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma summoned in PNB fraud case

07 March, 2018, 00:13 | Author: Virgil Todd
  • Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma. Source https

PNB dropped 2.3% and Axis Bank fell 1.4%, pushing the 10-member S&P Bankex Index to its fifth day of decline.

Indian investigators have so far arrested almost 20 people, including some senior executives of companies owned by Modi and Choksi as well as high-ranking officials of the Punjab National Bank, in the bank fraud probe.

ICICI, part of the 31-bank consortium that lent money to the Gitanjali Group, had sanctioned a loan of Rs 405 crore. The Central Bureau of Investigation had also questioned ICICI's Executive Director NS Kanan. These summons have been issued in connection to loans granted to Gitanjali Group.

The central bank also said the action on the two commercial banks is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance "and is not meant to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers". Both of them have been accused of being in the centre of the Rs 11,400 bank fraud.

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In a response to the report, ICICI Bank has said the bank has "no exposure to the Nirav Modi group of companies". Its exposure to the Gitanjali group, it said, is not the largest among the lenders in the consortium.

On the other hand, Axis Bank does not have any exposure to Mehul Choksi or Nirav Modi firms but had discounted the Letters of Undertaking were fraudulently issued by PNB. We are working capital lenders to the Gitanjali group of companies along with several other banks in the consortium... The court, set up under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), issued the NBWs on applications filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), one of the agencies probing the bank fraud cases registered last month. He was brought in for questioning to the CBI office from Mumbai Airport.

Even as Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have fled the country after embezzling funds to the tune of thousands of crores, many of their assets have been seized and investigative agencies are swooping down on bank officials involved in the scam.

Modi is said to have defrauded Punjab National Bank, India's second largest state-run bank, of 1.8 billion USA dollars, though he said that he only owed the bank 775 million U.S. dollars, in a letter sent to the bank's management.

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