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PNB refuses to disclose details of Nirav Modi scam as it may hamper probe

The bank was asked to provide details of inspection that resulted in detection of the fraud and provide a copy of inspection reports

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Punjab National bank, PNB
Punjab National Bank

State-run (PNB) has refused to disclose details of the audit or investigation that led to the detection of over Rs 130 billion at the company, citing a clause that bars any disclosure that can impede the process of investigating or apprehending the offenders.

In reply to an RTI query, the also declined to share the copy of inspection reports related to the scam.

Since the matter is under investigation by the central investigating agency/agencies/enforcement agency, providing of the desired information is exempted under Section 8 (1) (h) of the Right to Information Act, 2005, the PNB said in reply to the Right To Information application filed by a PTI correspondent.

The section bars disclosure of information which would impede the process of investigation or apprehension or prosecution of offenders.

The was asked to provide details of inspection that resulted in detection of the and provide a copy of inspection reports.

The scam, considered to be the biggest ever in India's history, was reported earlier this year and involves PNB, the country's second-largest state-owned bank, getting allegedly defrauded by diamantaire and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the promoter of

Besides the (CBI), Income Tax and Enforcement Directorate, the RBI has also started a detailed probe into the case for necessary action.

Replying to an RTI query, the RBI had also earlier declined to share inspection reports for scam-hit PNB. In response to queries under the transparency law, the central bank had also clarified that the RBI does not carry out an audit of banks, but conducts inspection/risk-based supervision of

Giving details for the past ten years, the RBI gave dates for the annual inspection carried out at the PNB head office between 2007 and 2017, except for 2011, for which the regulator said the "dates (are) not available".

When asked about the copies of inspection reports and details of objections raised by it, the RBI said the information was exempted under various clauses of the RTI Act. The central bank had forwarded the RTI query for further details to PNB.

Incidentally, market regulator has recently issued a warning letter to PNB for the delay in making disclosures about the

observed that there were delays ranging from one to six days by PNB in making various disclosures to the stock exchanges pertaining to the filing of reports/complaints with the RBI and CBI.

Earlier this week, CBI filed two charge sheets in the case in a Mumbai court, in which it has also been alleged that PNB misled the RBI on issues relating to certain credit guarantees that are at the centre of the alleged fraud.

The chargesheet also names PNB's former CMD Usha Ananthasubramanian, who is currently and MD of another Allahabad Bank, besides PNB's directors K V and Sanjiv Sharan, and (international operations) Nehal Ahad. All these officials have been divested of their functional powers.

On Tuesday, PNB said that its total liability now works out to Rs 14,356.84 crore on account of the fraud allegedly carried out by Modi and Choksi, both of whom are absconding.

First Published: Sun, May 20 2018. 13:30 IST