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During the course of its investigation in the Rs 139 billion Punjab National Bank fraud, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) found one of the prime accused, Mehul Choksi had taken a loan worth Rs 52.8 billion from a consortium of banks and that is still unpaid.
The CBI is examining the irregularities in the loan extended by the consortium and it has already probed ICICI Bank executive director N S Kannan in February. The CBI has not registered a separate FIR in the Rs 52.8 billion loans taken by a group of companies belonging to Choksi as it will be a part of the existing investigation into the PNB scam.
The Gitanjali group, owned by Choksi, had taken a 'working capital facility' loan worth Rs 52.8 billion from a consortium of 31 public and private sector banks, led by ICICI Bank, in October 2016.
As per a news report in Business Today, Punjab National Bank had the highest exposure of Rs 5.9 billion amongst the lenders, followed by Allahabad Bank (Rs 4.2 billion), ICICI Bank (Rs 4 billion) and Corporation Bank (around Rs 3 billion). Other banks included Central Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Dena Bank and IDBI Bank. Mehul Choksi firms have utilised the 'working capital facility', according to news reports.
“We are working capital lenders to the Gitanjali group of companies along with several other banks in the consortium. Our exposure to the Gitanjali group of companies (owned by Mehul Choksi) is not the largest among lenders in the consortium. We are fully co-operating with the investigating agencies in their efforts,” ICICI Bank had said in a statement in February.
In February, ICICI Bank had appointed Delhi-based audit firm TR Chada to conduct a forensic audit of the loans taken by Choksi group of companies to assess if there was round-tripping of funds by the jeweller through remittances of money overseas without an actual exchange of goods, as per a news report in Economic Times.
Loan fraud by a group of companies belonging to Mehul Choksi came to light when the CBI registered an FIR on February 15 in the PNB fraud case. Choksi firms had taken fraudulent letters of undertaking from Punjab National Bank to take loans worth Rs 71 billion.