ICICI's Chanda Kochhar, Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma summoned in PNB fraud case

PNB case SFIO summons ICICI chief Chanda Kocchar Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma

Separately, the Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) had summoned Chanda Kochhar, Chief Executive Officer at ICICI Bank, and Shikha Sharma, her peer at Axis Bank, for a meeting on Tuesday, according to media reports. There are 31 banks issued loans to Choksi, among which ICICI has sanctioned a loan of Rs. 405 crore.

Meanwhile, the CBI told a Mumbai court on Monday that violation of norms for issuance of Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) to benefit billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi had been going on since 2010. The report further states that officials of State Bank of Jaipur, KarurVysya Bank are also among others who are expected to be summoned by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI).

Even as Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi have fled the country after embezzling funds to the tune of thousands of crores, many of their assets have been seized and investigative agencies are swooping down on bank officials involved in the scam.

A team from Axis Bank led by deputy managing director V Srinivasan and executives from the trade and transactions department went to the SFIO's office here, after the investigating agency called them to help in the probe, sources said.

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"The SFIO has today sought information on the accounts of the Nirav Modi and Gitanjali groups of companies". It does not have any exposure to companies linked with Modi. "Our presentation to the Gitanjali gathering of organizations isn't the biggest among moneylenders in the consortium", the bank had stated, including that it was "completely co-working with the researching offices in their endeavors".

And, there is a LoU is guarantee that is given issuing a bank to the Indian banks with branches in the foreign to grant short-term credit to the applicant.

"Just being summoned by the authorities doesn't suggest that all these banks have colluded in the alleged fraud", said Pooja Dutta, a managing partner at Mumbai-based law firm Astute Law.

Stocks of private banks, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank were off the day's high points as investors turned cautious of developments related to Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.

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