ICICI's Chanda Kochhar, Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma summoned in PNB fraud case


With an outstanding of over Rs 600 crore to Gitanjali, ICICI Bank is the lead bank in the consortium of 31 banks which have loaned over Rs 6,800 crore to the company.

The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) has approached other lenders which have exposure to the firms promoted by scam-tainted Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi to help in the agency's probe into the over Rs 12,000-crore PNB scam.

However, NDTV quoting sources said that the senior officials are only being questioned for clarifications and not as accused in the fraud case.

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Bosamiya, then additional general manager (operation) and Pandya, then finance manager of Firestarter Diamond International Pvt Ltd., a Nirav Modi's diamond firm, were arrested for their alleged role in the preparation of applications for the fraudulent Letter of Understandings (LoUs) submitted to the PNB.

Sources said a number of banks have already submitted documents with the agency. These summons have been issued in connection to loans granted to Gitanjali Group. PNB has lent Rs 587 crore as working capital, while ICICI Bank has lent Rs 405 crore to Mr Choksi's firms.

"In the normal course of trade business, the bank, through the overseas branches, undertakes transactions against LoUs (Letters of Undertaking) issued by other banks". While top officials of Axis Bank have met SFIO officials on Tuesday, ICICI Bank has submitted all details to SFIO in the Gitanjali Group investigations, an official with direct knowledge of the matter said.

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The fraud was allegedly perpetrated by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems. He has been taken for addressing at the Bandra-Kurla Complex, an authority said.

Bankers say in many Indian banks the SWIFT system, which is used for global transactions, and the core banking system work independently of each other. The ED has also traced some of the money being routed back to the banks for re-issuing letter of undertaking, or LoUs. But, in case of a default, the bank that has issued the LoU has to pay the liability to the credit giving bank along with the accruing the interest.

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