CBI officials quiz 3 general managers, auditors in PNB fraud case
New Delhi/Mumbai: Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) sleuths probing the PNB fraud on Monday questioned three general managers (GMs) and the auditors of the bank, while continuing to interrogate its executive director K.V. Brahmaji Rao for the third day.
“Three GMs of PNB are being questioned in relation to the bank’s international banking division and treasury division. The international banking division gets the daily report of all credit and debit transactions of the Nostro accounts. We are probing to see if they were aware of such huge credits and debits,” a senior CBI official said on condition of anonymity. The official declined to name the bankers.
A Nostro account is an account a bank holds in a foreign currency in another bank.
On Saturday, the agency turned up the heat on PNB’s top brass, when it started questioning managing director and chief executive Sunil Mehta and Rao in Mumbai.
The agency confirmed that Rao, who has been executive director since January 2014, was quizzed “in connection with the Letters of Undertaking (LoUs) issued to Nirav Modi”, the main suspect in the Rs11,400 crore PNB fraud case.
PNB did not respond to emails seeking a response.
“Investigation is underway in all the serious bank fraud cases registered by CBI recently. The director of CBI Alok Verma has directed officers in charge of these investigations to take all necessary steps to ensure that the bank fraud cases are concluded within a given time frame. He asked the officers not to spare anyone found involved in these scams,” a CBI spokesperson said on Monday.
The agency also recovered some documents last week from the Mumbai office of law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas in connection with the PNB fraud, two people familiar with developments confirmed.
“When Nirav Modi’s premises were searched last week, it was found that there were certain documents of huge importance at the law firm. Those documents were recovered last week itself,” said the senior CBI official cited earlier.
According to the person cited above, the law firm was advising a Modi-owned company a few weeks before the scam was unearthed but that the law firm had terminated the assignment the moment the fraud was discovered. Also, the firm had not started to work on the assignment.
“The law firm had fully cooperated with the investigation agency,” said this person. When contacted, Cyril Shroff, managing partner of the law firm, declined to comment.
Society of Indian Law Firms president Lalit Bhasin said, “Without linking the current situation, any communication that the law firm does with their clients are privileged and they have right to protect it. But if the client uses the firm’s office premises to keep their documents, that doesn’t fall under such privilege and investigation agencies can look into such documents.”
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