Allahabad Bank may show CEO the door

Nirav Modi

Separately, two sources familiar with the matter said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had named Ananthasubramanian, diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, and more than 20 others in a charge sheet filed at a Mumbai court on Monday.

Rajeev Kumar, Secretary, Department of Financial Services (DFS), Ministry of Finance on Monday said that they have instructed the directors of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) and the Allahabad bank to divest all the powers of those who are accused in the multi-crore PNB scam. Similar action is likely to be taken by the board of Allahabad Bank against its CEO and MD Ananthasubramanian, who was the managing director of PNB till May 5 a year ago.

PNB executive directors Brahmaji Rao and Sanji Saran, and general manager Nehal Ahad will also be charged.

The move comes after the Narendra Modi government directed state-owned banks to push out the senior employees named in the CBI charge sheet. Another CBI official said a special court had not yet taken cognisance of the chargesheet.

Rs 7579 crore in gross NPA addition was due to the Nirav Modi fraud; Rs 10,237 crore was due to RBI's new stressed asset circular.

A similar fraud was detected in 2016, in which funds under the garb of LoUs were transferred in favour of a Hong-Kong-based company, purportedly issued by the Chandigarh branch of a nationalised bank to overseas branches of two other nationalised banks, including PNB. The CBI said this chargesheet is related only to the FIR against Nirav and his companies - Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds.

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The sources said naming of Ananthasubramanian, who was at the helm of affairs in Punjab National Bank during 2015-17, in the charge sheet did not mean that her predecessors had been cleared by the agency.

Both Modi and Choksi had left the country before PNB filed the complaint with the CBI. After initially disputing its liability, PNB paid seven banks Rs6,500 crore towards these letters of understanding (LoUs).

The CBI has registered three separate FIRs in connection with the alleged fraud of United States dollars 2 billion in the public sector bank by the companies of Nirav Modi and Choksi.

The CBI said that senior PNB officials did not comply with RBI's circulars over SWIFT control system, a platform for encashing letters of undertaking (LoU).

The bank's poor performance in the last quarter of 2017-'18 follows an alleged fraud of over Rs 13,000 crore involving businessmen Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

"After including outstanding amounts under other credit facilities to the above entities, the amount involved now works out to be Rs 14,356.84 crore", PNB said.

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