CBI questions top SBI officers over PNB scam

Mumbai: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday questioned State Bank of India’s two deputy general managers posted in Frankfurt in Germany and Mauritius in connection with the multi-crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

CBI today questioned SBI’s two deputy general managers posted in Frankfurt in Germany and Mauritius in connection with the multi-crore PNB scam.

These SBI branches allegedly overlooked several discrepancies in the Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) issued by the PNB while giving credit facilities to the companies of Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi, the main accused in the PNB scam.

A Lou is a guarantee given by an issuing bank to Indian banks having branches abroad to grant short-term credit to the applicant.

The PNB in February detected the multi-crore scam, wherein Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi had allegedly cheated the bank to the tune of Rs. 114 billion, with the purported involvement of a few employees of the bank.

The scam, which reportedly began in 2011, was detected in the third week of January this year, after which the PNB officials reported it to the concerned agencies.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) registered a money laundering case against Modi and others on the basis of a CBI First Information Report (FIR).

Currently, the probe agencies are investigating the matter and have also seized many properties of both Modi and Choksi.

The CBI has also made several arrests in connection with the case.

On February 28, it arrested an Internal Chief Auditor of the PNB. The arrested Auditor M.K. Sharma was allegedly responsible for auditing the systems and practices of the PNB in Brady House Branch.

Earlier, the CBI had arrested five PNB officials in the case, including a General Manager (GM) rank officer of the PNB, Rajesh Jindal.

Apart from these arrests, India’s premier investigation agency has also arrested officials of Modi’s and Choksi’s companies.

On February 20, the CBI arrested five high profile accused: Vipul Ambani, president, finance, Firestar International Pvt Ltd.; Kavita Mankikar, executive assistant and authorised signatory of the three accused firms, Arjun Patil, senior executive, Firestar group; Kapil Khandelwal, CFO, Nakshatra group; and Niten Shahi, manager, Gitanjali.