PNB Probe: SFIO Summons ICICI Bank's Chanda Kochhar & Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma

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ICICI Bank alone had given Rs 405 crore loan to Gitanjali Gems.

People familiar with the matter said senior officials are only being questioned for clarifications and not as accused in the fraud case.

The New Delhi-based PNB is the third lender which has been called by SFIO in the last two days in connection with the almost United States dollars 2 billion fraud. The bank's NPAs grew to Rs. 27,402 crore in the July-September quarter of 2017-18, a massive increase compared to Rs. 4,451 crore two years ago. The SFIO is also expected to call officials of almost 31 banks which have an exposure to the companies of diamond traders Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi.

"We have no exposure to the Nirav Modi group of companies".

The ICICI bank had earlier claimed that it was not exposed to the fraud committed by Nirav Modi group.

The agency has also summoned senior executives of banks other than ICICI Bank and Axis Bank which are part of the 31-bank consortium.

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Meanwhile, Axis Bank informed that its exposure to these entities is approximately Rs 200 crore.

The CBI officials had said the examination was focused on understanding how the crime was detected by the bank, procedural issues and their violations. NS Kannan, official chief ICICI bank, was the pioneer of consortium of the bank that loaned cash to Gitanjali Group, it has been asserted.

Saying that the bank was fully cooperating with the investigation agencies, the ICICI Bank said: "Our exposure to the Gitanjali group of companies is not the largest among lenders in the consortium". A mid-level official with the bank said, "We are cooperating with the investigators". The other details about Chitalia's alleged role in the PNB fraud were not revealed.

Jaitley's statement comes in the wake of a Rs 12,600 crore fraud in the state-run PNB allegedly by accused diamantaire Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi.

The central bank also said the action on the two commercial banks is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance "and is not meant to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers".

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