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Punjab National Bank detects Rs 11,000 crore fraud in South Mumbai branch

State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB), in a regulatory filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Wednesday, said it had detected fraudulent transactions worth $1,771.7 million (over Rs 11,000 crore) in its mid-corporate branch in south Mumbai.

At least ten employees of PNB have been suspended.

These transactions, reportedly, involved a few firms promoted by billionaire diamond jeweller Nirav Modi who was initially booked by the CBI in an alleged Rs 280-crore cheating case after it received a complaint from the PNB on January 29.

Reportedly, the bank, has now found that the total "unauthorised transactions" by Modi's firms were worth $1,771.7 million. The bank filed a second complaint with the CBI on February 13.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is said to have registered a case under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) to probe the transactions. The agency has sought documents related to the case from the CBI. While the CBI will probe the alleged involvement of bank officials, the ED will look into violation of foreign exchange and anti-money laundering norms if any, reports said.

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) too is looking into the alleged illegal transactions.

The alleged Rs 11,000 crore fraud at PNB is important since the money in question is nearly one-third of its total market capitalisation of Rs 35,365 crore and 2.55 per cent of the total loan book of Rs 4.5 lakh crore as of December 2017.

The PNB said these alleged transactions are contingent in nature and the liability arising out of these on the bank will be decided based on the law and genuineness of underlying transactions.

"The matter was already referred to law enforcement agencies to examine and book the culprits as per law of the land. The bank is committed to clean and transparent banking," PNB said.