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CBI unlikely to charge PNB executives with smaller fraud

Wants to avoid giving Ananthasubramanian, others double jeopardy defence in PNB case.

, ET Bureau|
Aug 05, 2019, 08.07 AM IST
Punjab National Bank
MUMBAI: The CBI is unlikely to frame charges against Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) former chief executive Usha Ananthasubramanian and two executive directors over an alleged Rs 9.09 crore fraud at the bank involving a private company.

This is to avoid a procedural issue that the former bankers could use as defence, people with knowledge of the case said.

The federal investigation agency stumbled upon the alleged fraud by the directors of Chandri Paper & Allied Products, during its investigations into the suspected Rs 13,570 crore PNB scam involving Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi, the people told ET.

The directors of Chandri Paper & Allied Products too have allegedly used fraudulent letter of undertakings to get bank guarantees in connivance with bank officials. The undertakings were issued by the same Brady House branch of PNB in South Mumbai, which had issued similar letters to Choksi and Nirav Modi.

CBI had filed charge sheets against Ananthasubramanian, who was also a former managing director and CEO of Allahabad Bank, and former PNB executive directors KV Brahmaji Rao and Sanjiv Sharan, accusing them of negligence in the Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi case. It is looking at similar negligence by them in the Chandri Paper case as well.

“Charging them with the same offence as in the Nirav Modi-Mehul Choksi case will amount to double jeopardy and therefore the CBI has decided not to charge them in the second case,” one of the people said.

Double jeopardy is a procedural defence that prevents an accused person from being tried again on the same, or similar, charges and on the same facts.

“While the upcoming chargesheet will mention the RBI circulars which were cited in the Choksi-Modi cases, and the failure of the top brass to implement (the instructions), there is no point charging them again for the same offence as law allows double jeopardy as a defence,” added the official.

“The chargesheet will, however, name the then deputy general manager, Sanjay Prasad, and the seven others mentioned in the FIR and elaborate their roles," he added.

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