Loan Fraud Case: CBI Names Senior PNB & Allahabad Bank Officials in Chargesheet, Finance Ministry Seeks Action
PNB-Nirav Modi Fraud (Image: PTI)

May, May 14: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), handling the Punjab National banking fraud case, also one of the biggest in the history of Indian banking industry is likely to file chargesheet against the senior Punjab National Banks (PNB) officials in the court this week. Meanwhile, the Finance Minister has directed PNB and Allahabad Bank Boards to take action against those named in CBI's chargesheet, reported CNN News 18.

The PBN scam involves famous Diamantaire Nirav Nodi and his uncle Mehul Modi, the mastermind behind the Rs.13000 crore fraud done by providing fake Letters of Undertaking to lend money from the bank.

The purpose behind filing the first set of chargesheet is to deter the prospects of the accused seeking bail on the ground that the probe agency failed to file its charge sheet against them in the stipulated period (90 days) as mandated under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), sources said to The Indian Express.

The agency has made its first arrest in the case on February 17, which included the name of Gokulnath Shetty (former deputy General manager of PNB), Manoj Kharat (single window operator of PNB) and Hemant Bhat (authorised signatory of Modi’s company). Taking further the probe on February 20, it arrested Vipul Ambani, president (finance) of Firestar International.

The others arrested are Bechhu Tiwari (then chief manager in the Forex department of PNB), Yashwant Joshi (scale II manager in the Forex department), Praful Sawant (scale-I officer handling exports section), Manish Bosamiya (former AGM of operations in Firestar International Ltd owned by Modi), Miten Pandia (then Financial manager of Firestar), Sanjay Rambhia (auditor of Firestar), Aniyath Shiv Raman Nair (then director of Gili India Ltd, a Gitanjali Group firm owned by Choksi), Vipul Chitalia (VP banking operations of Gitanjali group) as mentioned in the news report.

Its believed that the accused senior officials of PNB earlier too were involved in similar fraudulent practices. In the year 2016, in a similar instance, the accused persons in criminal conspiracy with the bank officials siphoned off bank funds to Hong-Kong based company wrongly by providing the fake letters of comfort. Based on these fraudulently issued letters of comfort, the banks issued buyers' credit to the account of the accused companies in abroad. Whereas after the detection of the fraud, the RBI advised PNB to maintain due diligence, however, the said senior officials of PNB both serving and retired failed to do so and therefore they will be chargesheeted now, as reported in the news report.