Scam-Hit PNB Ignored Advice To Act Against Staff: Anti-Corruption Body

Punjab National Bank (PNB) has accused Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi of over Rs 13,000 crore fraud

New Delhi:  The government-owned Punjab National Bank is one of the state-run entities that allegedly did not take the Central Vigilance Commission's advice on taking action against some of its staffers who are suspected of having a hand in corruption, the watchdog said in a report.

Punjab National Bank or PNB has accused billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, his uncle Mehul Choksi and some bank officials of fraud running into over Rs 13,000 crore.

The Central Vigilance Commission or CVC had tabled its annual report for 2017 in parliament recently.

PNB gave a cash credit limit of Rs 2 crore and term loan of Rs 1.5 crore to a firm for setting up a manufacturing unit in Dehradun against mortgage of property that was later found to be problematic.

"(The) loan was secured by hypothecation of stocks, plant and machinery mortgage of factory land valued at Rs 42 lakh and mortgage of another immovable property as collateral security situated in Delhi," the CVC said. PNB accepted the two properties in Delhi "without ensuring genuineness of property papers as well as its geographical location", the report said.

In the case of one property, the seller was not the rightful owner, while the other was found to be a gram sabha land, so both mortgages were found to be useless, the CVC said. It did not mention when the deals took place.

The anti-corruption body then asked PNB to take action against a senior manager, against whom 14 charges were filed, though only two charges were proven.

"Non-acceptance of the Commission's advice or non-consultation with the Commission vitiates the vigilance process and weakens the impartiality of vigilance administration," the CVC said in the report.

The CVC said it has found more such instances in other government-run departments such as the railways, telecommunications, civil aviation and even the finance ministry, who did not follow the anti-corruption body's advice on taking action against corrupt staffers.