PNB Probe: SFIO Summons ICICI Bank's Chanda Kochhar & Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma

SBI share prices on Wednesday dropped 3.84% to close at Rs246.65 on the BSE
SBI share prices on Wednesday dropped 3.84% to close at Rs246.65 on the BSE
Author

07 March, 2018

The CBI had filed the first FIR in the scam on February 14 against Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal, uncle Choksi and his firms Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamond.

Sources said that officials from Punjab National Bank are likely to visit the office on Wednesday.

Saying that the bank was fully cooperating with the investigation agencies, the ICICI Bank said: "Our exposure to the Gitanjali group of companies is not the largest among lenders in the consortium".

After media reports that ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive Chanda Kochhar, and her Axis Bank counterpart Shikha Sharma have been summoned by SFIO regarding the case, stock exchanges have sought clarifications from both the lenders. These summons have been issued in connection to loans granted to Gitanjali Group. Our intention is to get the information from these two banks. While the ICICI bank was one of the lead bankers in the consortium, Axis Bank too had a major exposure.

Choksi along with his nephew, Nirav Modi, fled India in January.

A LoU is a guarantee which is given by an issuing bank to Indian banks having branches overseas to grant short-term credit to the applicant. Kochhar and Sharma will appear before the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) in Mumbai on Tuesday afternoon, sources in the agency said.

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Earlier, a senior official of the ICICI Bank was summoned to the CBI office in Mumbai.

In a move that could bring more skeletons from cupboards of state-run banks, the finance ministry had asked them to closely scrutinise all non performing assets (NPAs) above Rs 50 crore to detect any signs of frauds.

This comes in the midst of reports that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday kept Vipul Chitalia, VP (saving money tasks), Gitanjali Group, at Mumbai airplane terminal in the Punjab National Bank misrepresentation case. The other details about Chitalia's alleged role in the PNB fraud were not revealed.

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.

The accused officials of PNB did not enter the instructions for these LoUs and in their internal software to avoid scrutiny.


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