Punjab National Bank detects fraudulent transactions worth Rs 10000 crore

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Shares in PNB, the country's second-biggest state-run lender and fourth-biggest overall by assets, closed 9.8 percent lower in a Mumbai market that fell 0.4 percent, giving the bank a market capitalisation of $5.5 billion.

The finance ministry has asked, through the reform agenda circulated to the banks on 24 January, that dubious accounts should be scrutinised and appropriate action against fraudsters be taken with zero tolerance, according to PTI.

The Punjab National Bank (PNB) suspended 10 of its officials after Rs 10,000 crore fraud was unearthed on Wednesday.

"The Bank has detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) in one of its branch in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance", PNB said in a filing to the BSE.

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Agency sources said Modi is already facing a CBI probe on a complaint from the Punjab National Bank. The agency is yet to file a First Information Report (FIR) in the matter. The bank is committed to clean and transparent banking, PNB said. I just hope that you do not have similar things exploding in other banks - both the government sector as well as the newly coined private sector banks.

The bank said in its complaint that a deputy manager, Gokulnath Shetty, who was posted in the bank's foreign exchange department in Mumbai since 31 March 2010, along with another official Manoj Kharat had fraudulently issued LoUs to these firms without following prescribed procedure and without making entries in the banking system, avoiding detection of transactions.

No immediate comments were available from these companies.

The amount of fraudulent transactions is equivalent to eight times the bank's net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).

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At the time PNB had said it was digging into records to see whether the hit was much deeper.

The agency received the complaints about the transactions detected by the public sector bank late last night.

It is unclear if the fraud is linked to another case of PNB that the bank had reported earlier this month, where a jeweler had allegedly acquired the fraudulent letters of undertaking worth 2.8 billion rupees from PNB in order to obtain loans.

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