New Delhi: The central government on Monday gave the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) the go ahead to prosecute and initiate criminal charges against former Punjab National Bank (PNB) managing director and chief executive officer (CEO) Usha Ananthasubramanian and former PNB executive directors (ED) Sanjiv Sharan in the ₹14,356 crore scam, in a move that spells mounting trouble for the former top brass of the bank.
RBI has also been given the go ahead to initiate criminal charges against Ram Sangapure—another executive director of PNB.
CBI, RBI to prosecute, initiate criminal charges against PNB top brass
While the CBI will be probing Ananthasubramanian and Sharan for oversight, the central bank has been given permission to initiate criminal charges against Ananathasubramanian, Sangapure and Sharan.
RBI has been asked to file a case against them under the Banking Regulation Act and the sanction to prosecute them has been given, said a finance ministry official, who did not wish to be identified.
The matter of the third executive director, K.V. Brahmaji Rao is under consideration, the official said, adding that RBI has not sought permission to file charges against Rao.
PNB’s top brass has been under the scanner in the scam that has jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi at the centre.
Ananthasubramanian, who was the CEO of Allahabad Bank, was on Monday removed from service with immediate effect, according to people familiar with the development. Allahabad Bank board had earlier stripped Ananthasubramanian of all executive powers after the CBI had named her in the scam.
Ananthasubramanian and Sharan did not respond to Mint’s calls and messages seeking a response.
Sangapure said he was not aware of the development.
In May, CBI had filed a chargesheet in the matter in a Mumbai sessions court on the basis of a case registered on 15 February.
“The chargesheet had been registered for a total amount of ₹7,080.86 crore, covering 142 letters of undertaking (LoU) and 58 foreign letters of credit (FLC). It named 18 entities and individuals including the top PNB officials,” said the person cited above.
The chargesheet named Ananthasubramanian, Sharan and one former serving executive director of PNB, Brahmaji Rao. In the chargesheet, CBI alleged that Ananthasubramanian and some other senior bank officials were aware of the goings on as well as the modus operandi of the accused. However, the PNB officials did not take any corrective measures.
The investigating agency has also alleged that Ananthasubrahmanian had unauthorisedly delegated the Reserve Bank of India’s guidelines work to her subordinates without any follow-up action.
Ananthasubramanian served as the managing director and CEO of PNB from August 2015 to May 2017.