PNB holds Gitanjali responsible for Rs 1.3K cr fraud; appoints forensic auditor

Mumbai, March 1 The recently announced escalation in the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud amount by Rs 1,300 crore is attributable to Nirav Modi's uncle Mehul Choksi-owned Gitanjali Gems, the bank said in a clarification on Thursday.

In another clarification, the bank said it had assigned forensic audit to BDO India, the Indian arm of US-based firm to look into details of five companies involving Modi.

In a note to the stock exchanges, PNB said the latest fraud of Rs 1,300 crore was committed on March 2, 2017.

With this, Gitanjali's amount of fraud goes up to Rs 6,186.72 crore in the total kitty of Rs 12,600 crore. The rest of the amount is attributed to the Nirav Modi group.

"Issuance of FLC (Foreign Letters of Credit) is a contingent liability and may fall upon Bank in case of non-payment by opener of FLC. However we have adequate assets/capital to meet any liability which may be crystallised on us as per law of land," the bank said.

The bank reiterated that the fraud has already been reported to regulatory authorities. "The announcement made to the Exchanges is about possibility of increase in amount of fraud."

Regarding bids for the forensic audit, the bank said that bid from BDO India LLP was Ll and after negotiations with them, the company had been appointed as Forensic Auditor for five group companies of Nirav Modi on February 2, 2018.

Headquartered in Belgium, Binder Dijker Otte or BDO is an international network of public accounting, tax, consulting and business advisory firms which deals with professional services under the name of BDO. BDO has member firms in 162 countries.

The bank also clarified through a tweet on Thursday, that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had done risk-based supervision of the bank on an annual basis.

"There have been reports in a section of media that Reserve Bank of India has not conducted any audit at Punjab National Bank Brady House, Mumbai branch since 2009. It may be clarified that RBI does risk-based supervision of the bank on annual basis." the bank said through its twitter handle.

In another regulatory filing on Thursday PNB Ungam Venkata Prabhakar had assumed the charge as Executive Director of the bank on March 1, 2018.

It also added Ram S. Sangapure has demitted the office of Executive Director on February 28, 2018 after attaining the age of superannuation. 

Shares of PNB closed Rs 101 per share on Thursday at the BSE, down 0.35 per cent from its previous close.