MUMBAI: In the wake of the alleged multi-million Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam involving celebrity jeweller Nirav Modi and his family, another fraud of Rs 1,251 crore has been detected in respect to Gitanjali Gems. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday said that PNB has informed the agency about a further scam involving Rs 1,251 crore.
"PNB has informed us that further scam of Rs 1,251 crore has been detected in respect to Gitanjali Gems. CBI is now probing Rs 12,636 crore which is (Nirav and Gitanjali) PNB scam, up from Rs 11,421 crore," said CBI.
Meanwhile, PNB's former managing director Usha Ananthasubramanian is being questioned in Mumbai. The two serving General Managers have also been called for questioning. In a related development, Executive Director of ICICI bank N S Kannan has been called for questioning. Kannan is the leader of the consortium of the bank that lent money to Gitanjali Group.
Earlier this month, it had emerged that the fraudulently issued Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) from Brady Road branch in Mumbai of PNB were issued in favour of Hong Kong branches of Allahabad Bank and Axis Bank. These letters helped facilitate Rs 280.7 crore fraud by jewellery designer Nirav Modi and his maternal uncle Mehul Choksi.
As per the FIR lodged with the CBI, Shetty and Kharat had transmitted SWIFT instructions to the above-mentioned banks for raising buyers credit and for funding the Nostro accounts of PNB, without due procedure. The LoUs were issued on behalf of Diamond R US, Solar Exports, Stellar Diamonds.
However, ICICI Bank informed Zeenews.com that the bank has no exposure to the Nirav Modi group of companies. "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," said ICICI Bank in an official statement.