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

Diamond merchant Nirav Modi. Credit Facebook  Nirav Modi

Diamond merchant Nirav Modi. Credit Facebook Nirav Modi

Kochhar and Sharma were summoned to the SFIO's office in Mumbai in connection with the Rs 3,280-crore working capital loan to Choksi's Gitanjali group, News18 reported. ICICI Bank is the leader of the consortium and has lent over Rs 400 crore to Gitanjali Group. The SFIO has summoned ICICI Bank Chief Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma for interrogation in connection with the big bank scam. The National Company Law Tribunal has also allowed the government to attach 64 properties belonging to individuals as well as companies that are part of groups headed by Modi and Choksi to prevent the accused from alienating as well as creating any third-party interest in any of the properties. He was apprehended at Mumbai airport.

"We have summoned Mehta (the head of the beleaguered bank) and he is expected to appear before us tomorrow", said an SFIO official.

On February 14, Punjab National Bank (PNB) in a regulatory filing, said two bank employees had "fraudulently issued Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) and transmitted SWIFT instructions to the overseas branches of Indian banks" to raise buyer's credit for companies of Modi and Choksi to the tune of Rs 11,400 crore without "making entries in the bank system". We are working capital loan specialists to the Gitanjali gathering of organizations alongside a few different banks in the consortium... "Our exposure to the Gitanjali group of companies is not the largest among lenders in the consortium", the bank had said, adding that it was "fully co-operating with the investigating agencies in their efforts".

Meanwhile, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) detained Vipul Chitalia, vice president of Gitanjali Group, as a part of the probe into the case. He did not divulge any other details about Chitalia's alleged role in the PNB fraud.

Axis Bank revealed that it has a Rs 200-crore exposure to the scam-tainted companies promoted by Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.

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.

Bankers say in many Indian banks the SWIFT system, which is used for global transactions, and the core banking system work independently of each other.

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