On the heels of the CBI’s first chargesheet in the ₹13,000-crore Nirav Modi scam, the Finance Ministry has directed the removal of two existing PNB Executive Directors — Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan — and former PNB Managing Director and CEO Usha Ananthasubramanian from their current roles.
Hours after receiving the Finance Ministry’s letter, the PNB board, which met on Monday, swung into action to divest both Rao and Sharan of their responsibilities, a PNB spokesperson confirmed.
The Allahabad Bank board will meet here on Tuesday to divest Ananthasubramanian, who is now serving as MD and CEO, of her responsibilities. She was PNB MD and CEO till May 5 last year, and her name figures in the CBI’s chargesheet filed on Monday.
She had headed the bank from August 2015 to May 2017. Earlier, between July 2011 and November 2013, she had also served as PNB Executive Director.
The CBI’s first chargesheet in the Nirav Modi case, filed in a special court in Mumbai, covers 25 names including individuals and three firms. A second chargesheet covering Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Gems will be filed by the end of this week, sources said.
According to the CBI’s first chargesheet, Nirav Modi, his brother Nishal Modi, and Subhash Parab, an executive in Nirav Modi firms, conspired for the issuance of fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs). The first chargesheet relates to fraudulent issuance of LoUs worth ₹6,000 crore.
Besides naming Nirav Modi as the “wanted accused”, the CBI chargesheet included PNB’s General Manager (International Operations) Nehal Ahad, apart from Ananthasubramanian, Rao and Sharan.
Breach of trust
The bank officials have been charged under Sections 409 and 420 of the Indian Penal Code for criminal breach of trust and cheating, respectively.
The three firms mentioned in the chargesheet are borrower companies Diamonds R Us, Stellar Diamonds and Solar Exports.
Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar told reporters: “Today, we have directed the directors of PNB and Allahabad Bank to divest all the powers of those who are accused. We have initiated the removal of three board-level officers — two Executive Directors of Punjab National Bank and the MD of Allahabad Bank. The PNB board has already decided to divest the EDs of their roles and replace them.”
Meanwhile, IDBI Bank informed the BSE on Monday that it has accepted the resignations of independent directors Ninad Karpe and S Ravi. It added that Sudhir Shyam, Director, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, will replace Praveen Garg on the board of the bank.