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1. State-owned Punjab National Bank on Wednesday revealed it has detected a $1.77 billion (about Rs 11,400 crore) scam where billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking from a branch in Mumbai to secure overseas credit from other Indian lenders.
2. The bank has suspended 10 officials and referred the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation for investigation.
3. Major jewellers Gitanjali, Ginni and Nakshatra have reportedly come under the scanner of various investigating agencies following PNB’s declaration the massive fraud, which was allegedly committed by Nirav Modi.
4. While PNB did not name the other lenders, Union Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and Axis Bank are said to have offered credit based on letters of undertaking (LOUs) issued by PNB. Foreign bank branches too are under investigation.
5. In a regulatory filing just before trading began today, the bank said the transactions were “for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance”, adding other banks may also have been impacted.
6. Following the declaration, the shares in PNB, the country’s second-biggest state-run lender and fourth-biggest overall by assets, fell by 9.8 per cent.
7. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has registered a case under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with another cheating case, on the basis of a CBI FIR.
8. On February 5, the CBI had booked billionaire diamond service provider Nirav Modi, his brother, wife and an enterprise companion for allegedly cheating Punjab National Bank of over Rs 280 crore last year.
9. An official with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told news agency Reuters on condition of anonymity that both the cases were related.
10. The CBI had also raided the residence of Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal, wife Ami and Mehul Chinubhai Choksi, all partners of Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds and two bank officials — Gokulnath Shetty (now retired) and Manoj Kharat, who were also named in the CBI FIR as accused.
11. Concerned over fraud, the finance ministry has asked all banks to send reports involving this case or other such incidents latest by the end of this week.
12. Watchdog Sebi is likely to probe possible disclosure lapses by banks and other listed companies, including several jewellery firms, that have come under the scannerek.