Mumbai, Mar 7: The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) on Wednesday questioned PNB managing director and CEO Sunil Mehta for five hours in connection with the Rs 12,636 cr fraud at the bank, allegedly carried out by diamond jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.
Mehta was seen entering the SFIO office here before 11 AM and leaving around 4 PM, presumably after recording his statement.
Axis Bank and ICICI Bank officials had appeared before SFIO yesterday to record their statement in the case, as well. Mehta and PNB's executive director K V Brahmaji Rao were last month called by the CBI in connection with the alleged fraud. The CBI officials had said the examination was focused on understanding how the crime was detected by the bank, procedural issues and their violations. They said that Mehta and Rao were not being treated as accused in the case.
The SFIO, which is the investigating arm of the ministry of corporate affairs, is expected to call officials of nearly 31 banks that have an exposure to companies of Modi and Choksi. Officials of all the banks that have given loans to companies of Modi and Choksi in the last one or two years are likely to be summoned first by the SFIO for recording their statement in connection with the scam, said a banker. The PNB had last month said it had detected fraudulent transactions worth nearly Rs 12,700 crore at one of its branches in Mumbai.
The transactions were carried out by Modi by allegedly acquiring fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoU) from the lender's Brady House branch in Mumbai to secure overseas credit from other Indian lenders. The CBI has so far arrested over a dozen people, including former and current officials of PNB and companies related to Modi and Choksi, in connection with the case.