Another former top banker has landed in trouble regarding a fraud case in Punjab National Bank. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today approached the Union Finance Ministry seeking sanction to prosecute Usha Ananthasubramanian, then Managing Director of PNB, in the Mehul Choksi bank fraud case.
On February 15, 2018, the probe agency had registered a cheating and corruption case against fugitive jeweller Mehul Choksi and 14 others including the officers of Punjab National Bank for defrauding the bank of around Rs 5,000 crore. This was the second FIR registered by the agency against Mehul Choksi.
The investigation has revealed that the "bank officials deliberately omitted in making entries of the Letters of Undertaking (LoU) issued on behalf of Choksi's companies, in the Core Banking System (CBS) of the bank, to avoid detection".
The investigation has further revealed that while Mr Choksi and his companies availed LoUs for making payment for fresh imports, it was utilised for the discharge of earlier liabilities.
The bank officials also helped Mr Choksi in the issuance of Foreign Letter of Credits (FLCs). "While FLCs were opened initially for a smaller amount with entries in CBS, in furtherance of the conspiracy with Choksi and his companies, the bank officials unauthorisedly enhanced the value of the FLCs manifold and issued amendments to the said FLCs through SWIFT messages without recording the same in CBS system, whereby the Overseas Branches of Indian Banks discounted the bills submitted by the beneficiary suppliers", CBI sources told NDTV.
"Choksi cheated the banks with this modus operandi for more than a year and this could not have happened without the knowledge of the top management of the bank," sources in the agency told NDTV.
Usha Ananthasubramanian served as the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer of Punjab National Bank from August 2015 to May 2017.
Along with Ms Subramanian, the agency has also sought permission from the Finance Ministry to charge sheet KV Bhrmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan, then Executive Directors of PNB.