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PNB discloses Rs 9.42 bn additional exposure in Nirav Modi, Choksi fraud

Reuters/Mumbai 13 Mar 18 | 08:26 PM

The logo of Punjab National Bank (PNB) is seen on a branch office window in New Delhi, India | Photo: Reuters

The Punjab National Bank has told police that it has uncovered additional exposure of about Rs 9.42 billion ($145.2 million) in connection with a massive alleged fraud, according to a court filing seen by Reuters.

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In what has been dubbed as the biggest fraud in India's banking history, PNB, the country's second-biggest state-run lender, said last month it had been defrauded of about $2 billion by two jewellery groups who raised credit from overseas banks based on fraudulent guarantees issued in collusion with rogue PNB staff.

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In a court filing on Tuesday, police said the Gitanjali group of companies controlled by jeweller Mehul Choksi allegedly defrauded PNB of 70.8 billion rupees ($1.09 billion). PNB had previously pegged its exposure to the Gitanjali companies at 61.38 billion rupees.

The new disclosure takes PNB's overall exposure in the still unravelling fraud case to well over the $2 billion mark.

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A lawyer for Gitanjali group's head, Mehul Choksi, said he was unaware of the new allegations and declined to comment. Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi, who is the other main accused in the case, have both denied any wrongdoing.

PNB did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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