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SFIO summons ICICI CEO, Axis Bank MD
07 March 2018, 06:54 | Bernice Figueroa
CBI Books Billionaire Diamond Merchant in Rs 280 Crore Cheating Case
As many as 31 banks had extended loan worth Rs 5,280 crores to Choksi's Gitanjali Gems.
ICICI Bank said in a statement that it has no exposure to the Nirav Modi group of companies but noted, "We are working capital lenders to the Gitanjali group of companies along with several other banks in the consortium". "The liability is still not established for the banks, given the web of companies related to Choksi and Modi", said a senior official at a state-run bank.
After media reports that ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive Chanda Kochhar and her Axis Bank counterpart Shikha Sharma have been summoned by SFIO regarding the case, stock exchanges had sought clarifications from both the lenders.
He said Chitalia was taken away from the Mumbai airport by the CBI, soon after he landed in the city from Bangkok.
"We have summoned Mehta (the head of the beleaguered bank) and he is expected to appear before us tomorrow", said an SFIO official.
ICICI Bank led a consortium of 31 banks that lent money to the Gitanjali Group.
This comes in the midst of reports that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday kept Vipul Chitalia, VP (saving money tasks), Gitanjali Group, at Mumbai airplane terminal in the Punjab National Bank misrepresentation case.
The fraud was allegedly perpetrated by billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems. The initial probe by investigating agencies has revealed that about 30 banks had discounted the bills based on PNB LOUs.
A slew of agencies, including the CBI and ministerial arms like the Enforcement Directorate as well as the SFIO, are probing the over '12,000-crore scam.
"In the normal course of trade business, the bank, through the overseas branches, undertakes transactions against LoUs (Letters of Undertaking) issued by other banks".
Last week, a special court issued a non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi in the alleged Rs 12,700-crore Punjab National Bank scam. "Some of the banks have already started replying", said an ED official.
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