PNB Scam Case: ICICI’s Chanda Kochhar, Axis Bank’s Shikha Sharma Summoned

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Mumbai: The mumbai wing of the Serious Fraud Investigation Office has summoned ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma in the Rs 5,000 crore loan extended to Mehul Choksi’s Gitanjali Gems.

The summons sent to both Kochhar and Sharma requests them to appear in person or send a representative. Both the top women bankers have been summoned in a case of Rs 5280 crore working capital facility given to Mehul Choksi’s Gitanjali Group by a consortium of 31 banks. The ICICI Bank, with a loan of Rs 405 crore, was a lead banker in this consortium; Axis Bank had a major exposure too.

The SFIO’s Mumbai head has confirmed to India Today that both Kochhar and Sharma have been summoned. “They have been summoned for giving the loan facility to Gitanjali Group. Our intention is to get the information from these two banks. We would like to question both of them.”

Both Choksi and Modi have fled the country before the fraud emerged at the end of January. Now, Nirav Modi’s associate companies have filed a bankruptcy petition in the US court seeking respite.

In its bankruptcy filing in New York, Firestar said liquidity and supply chain challenges were responsible for the insolvency. The company has also listed about $100 million in assets and debt as per the Chapter 11 documents.

PNB informed the stock exchanges last week that the quantum of fraud in the case could exceed the Rs 11,400 crore figure it had disclosed on February 14 by more than Rs 1,300 crore, taking it to Rs 12,700 crore.

The CBI had filed the first FIR in the scam on February 14 against Nirav Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal, uncle Choksi and his firms Diamond R US, Solar Exports and Stellar Diamond. The CBI filed a second FIR on February 15 for a Rs 4,886.72-crore fraud against Choksi’s Gitanjali Group.

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