A day after Punjab National Bank (PNB) alerted the stock exchanges about a fraudulent and unauthorised transaction worth $1.8 billion, the bank has informed that it has triggered the process to recover the money from the people involved in the fraud.
In a press conference held in Delhi on Thursday, Sunil Mehta, MD and CEO, PNB, said that the enforcement agencies are initiating measures to seize the assets of the accused. Without naming the persons, Mehta said that the bank is also exploring the possibility of getting the customers refund the amount after a formal request was made by the persons involved. "They have not come to us personally, but have written to us, and we have requested them to come to us and give us a plan for refund", Mehta said, denying the fact that has been any further negotiation in this regard. The bank is yet to receive a concrete plan.
The persons allegedly engaged in the fraudulent transactions include billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi and a clutch of companies related to diamond business.
Mehta said that the incident, which involved some of the bank employees in one of its branches in Mumbai, is isolated as they have failed to find any such instances of malpractices in any other branches across the country. All transactions carried out by the employees who have been found to be guilty will be thoroughly investigated, he added.
According to Mehta, the fraud was noticed by the bank authorities on January 25 and a complaint was registered with the authorities in less than a week.
Stating that the central government is watching the development on a day to day basis, he said that it is committed to clean up the system.
On liability, Mehta said that PNB is willing to take up any liability if the investigation leads to such a conclusion. "We are already in discussion with all the lenders. On the basis of the investigation, if the entire onus is on us, we will take it up", he assured.
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