The fraud trail is chasing bank CEOs now as Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma asked to appear before fraud investigation agency
The Hush Post: The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has issued notices to ICICI Bank’s CEO Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank’s Managing Director Shikha Sharma in the Nirav Modi-Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam worth Rs 12,700 crore. They have both been asked to appear in the Mumbai SFIO today. The investigative body has authorised them to send representatives in case they are not able to appear themselves.
A consortium of 31 banks led by ICICI Bank has disbursed loans close to Rs 5,200 crore to Mehul Chokshi’s Gitanjali Group. Nirav Modi firms Stellar Diamond and Solar Exports and Diamonds have together borrowed close to Rs 4,000 crore from banks.
They have been summoned for giving the loan facility to Gitanjali Group. SFIO has also summoned PNB MD and CEO Sunil Mehta. The SFIO is a fraud investigating agency, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has also traced some of the money being routed back to the banks for re-issuing letter of undertaking, or LoUs.
Separately, the ED is also investigating the planned listing of Choksi’s Nakshtra World, and Modi’s Firestar International.
ED is hoping to recover Rs 3,000-4,000 crore from the real estate assets seized from Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.This is in addition to the diamonds and precious stones seized by ED from the two groups, which is valued at Rs 5,816 crore. The ED’s estimate of the value of precious stones seized from the two groups is based on the stock value, which is always higher than the market value of the stones.
PNB had informed stock exchanges about the Rs 11,400 crore worth of unauthorised transactions at its Brady House branch based on forged letters of undertaking (LoUs).
The bank had alleged that two of its officials had issued the forged LoUs, which allowed the Gitanjali group and Nirav Modi group of companies to borrow money from overseas banks, with PNB as the guarantor of the loans.