Punjab National Bank Hits Near $2 Billion Quarterly Loss

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The bank today posted largest ever quarterly loss of Rs 13,416.91 crore for January-March period, mainly on account of high provisioning for bad loans. The agency has charge-sheeted billionaire Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal, seven employees of his companies including Chief Financial Officer Vipul Ambani and three companies Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamonds.

The agency has said then PNB MD and CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian and her top officials also failed to prevent the fraud despite having knowledge of the modus operandi, according to sources.

PNB said on Tuesday it had set aside a higher-than-required 71.78 billion rupees in the three months to March 31, or half of the total 143.57 billion rupees it owes other banks for the illegal guarantees.

"The moment I have definitive information either from the regulation side, supervision side or investigation side, the government will not hesitate in taking action to protect people's trust in the banking system", he said.

It also named PNB executive directors K V Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan, among others, in a charge sheet filed in a Mumbai court, the sources said, adding the officials were accused of breaching central bank guidelines. Of that 71.78 billion rupees were due to the fraud, the bank said. "A supplementary chargesheet in this case will focus on the roles of overseas banks in the fraud", the CBI officer said.

"The said information is based on media news and till now no formal communication has been received by the bank on the matter".

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The modus operandi in the IOB case was similar to the Nirav Modi case.

"We chose to go in for 50 per cent provisioning as we wanted to clean up the balance sheet to the maximum extent possible in 2017-18 itself", said a PNB official.

Earlier on May 3, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told the Delhi High Court that the affidavits filed by Modi's uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi's firm Gitanjali Gems in the court were 'false and misleading'. They allegedly prepared the applications for fraudulent LoUs submitted to the PNB.

The CBI probe has revealed that from 2011 to 2017, the accused officials along with Modi and others fraudulently issued a large number of LoUs to overseas banks for obtaining buyer's credit in favour of some of the jeweller's firms.

"During investigation, the CBI conducted searches at 42 premises and arrested fifteen persons".

The CBI has registered three separate FIRs in connection with the alleged fraud of Dollars 2 billion in the public sector bank by the companies of Nirav and Choksi.

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