The Central Bureau of Investigation on Monday filed its first chargesheet in the more than Rs 13,000-crore Punjab National Bank fraud case.
The chargesheet was filed in a special court in Mumbai just before the 90-day period to submit the charges against those arrested in the case ends. The accused cannot apply for bail now, NDTV reported.
The chargesheet details the role of fugitive diamond jeweller Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal Modi and an executive in Modi’s company, Subhash Purab. It also details the alleged role of Punjab National Bank’s former chief Usha Ananthasubramanian in the case. Ananthasubramanian, who was the managing director and chief executive officer of PNB between August 2015 and May 2017, now holds the same post in Allahabad Bank.
The CBI has also named PNB Executive Directors KV Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan, and General Manager (International Operations) Nehal Ahad in its chargesheet.
The chargesheet, however, does not mention in detail the role of Modi’s uncle Mehul Choksi and his Gitanjali Group in the scam. It is expected to come up in the CBI’s supplementary chargesheets, PTI reported.
Divest accused of all powers: Government to banks
Hours after the CBI filed its chargesheet, the government announced that it has directed the boards of the Punjab National Bank and Allahabad Bank to divest the accused of all their powers.
This includes Ananthasubramanian, and PNB’s KV Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan, PTI quoted Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar as saying. He added that the government had issued them a show-cause notice about 10 days ago.
Punjab National Bank announced on Monday evening that it has removed Sharan and Rao based on the government’s directions.
The Punjab National Bank informed the Bombay Stock Exchange on February 14 that it had detected “fraudulent and unauthorised transactions” worth Rs 11,380 crore at its Brady House branch in South Mumbai. The bank revised this figure to Rs 12,703 crore and later to around Rs 13,645 crore.
A few officials of the public sector bank had allegedly issued fraudulent Letters of Undertaking – essentially letters of credit telling others banks that it would meet a customer’s liabilities – to Modi’s companies. Some bank officials have been arrested and are under investigation.