CBI charges former PNB boss and 10 staff in fraud case

Similar action is likely to be taken by the board of Allahabad Bank against its CEO and MD Ananthasubramanian, who was the Managing Director of PNB till May 5 previous year.

Separately, India's banking secretary Rajiv Kumar told media in New Delhi that a government nominee on the board of state-run Allahabad Bank would soon call a meeting to seek the removal of Ananthasubramanian. The Allahabad Bank board has been asked to divest Ananthasubramanian of all powers and initiate further action.

Its total provision jumped more than thrice to Rs 4873 crore although the bank did not specify how much of it was for coverage of these fraud cases.

The government on April 12 said it was awaiting a response from Hong Kong authorities on its request for the provisional order of arrest of Nirav Modi.

CBI Spokesperson Abhishek Dayal said that the CBI has searched 42 premises, arrested 15 persons and questioned 80 witnesses in the case.

Seven employees of Modi's group of companies - Hemant Bhat, an authorised signatory; Vipul Ambani, President (Finance) of Firestar International; Miten Pandya, then Finance Manager of Firestar; Manish Bosamiya, former AGM of Firestar; Subhash Parab, key Executive (currently absconding); and Arjun Patil and Kavita Mankikar - were also named in the chargesheet.

Ananthasubramanian was the managing director at PNB between 2015 and 2017, before she was appointed as head in Allahabad Bank.

The chargesheet, filed in a special court in Mumbai, names several other top officials of the bank.

The Reserve Bank of India, meanwhile, asked Allahabad Bank, which is already under the prompt corrective action mechanism, to restrict expansion of risk-weighted average and reduce exposure to un-rated and high-risk advances, the filing said. Both Modi and Choksi had left the country before PNB filed the complaint with the CBI.

The scam, which reportedly began in 2011, was detected in the third week of January this year, after which the PNB officials reported it to the concerned agencies.

The PNB board has made a decision to remove the EDs named in the CBI chargesheet in an emergency meeting on the insistence from the government's nominee director. She was the CEO and MD of PNB in 2016 when the fraud allegedly took place. "In the charge sheet we would mention that the probe will continue under Section 173 (8) of the CrPC", the official said.

Vanessa Coleman

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