Usha Ananthasubramanian, former chief executive officer of Punjab National Bank, speaks during the FIBAC banking conference in Mumbai, India. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)  

PNB Fraud: CBI Court Grants Bail To Former MD Usha Ananthasubramanian

A special Central Bureau of Investigation court today granted bail to Usha Ananthasubramanian, former managing director of Allahabad bank, in connection with the Rs 14,000-crore fraud at Punjab National Bank Ltd. She was the managing director and chief executive officer of PNB till May 2017.

Earlier this month, the court had taken cognisance of the sanction granted by the President to prosecute Ananthasubramanian in the case.

When a court takes cognisance of the sanction, summons are issued to the accused to appear before the court, according to the procedure. Thereafter, the accused can move a bail application.

Ananthasubramanian appeared before special judge JC Jagdale and applied for a bail, which was granted by the court. The government had dismissed her on Aug. 14.

The CBI court had also taken cognisance of sanction for prosecution against former PNB executive director Sanjiv Sharan. He, too, was granted bail today on similar ground.

Three months ago, Ananthasubramanian was divested of her powers as MD and CEO of the Allahabad Bank following the country’s biggest banking fraud allegedly carried out by diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and associates at PNB. She was named in the CBI chargesheet in connection with the Rs 14,000-crore fraud committed through issuing fake letters of undertaking in connivance with some PNB employees.

It was alleged that she failed to exercise proper control over the functioning of PNB while serving as the bank’s chief.

Ananthasubramanian had enjoyed leadership roles at PNB in two stints. She headed the bank between August 2015 and May 2017, before moving to Allahabad Bank. She was the executive director at the bank from July 2011 to November 2013.

The fraud was enabled through misuse of SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications), an international payment gateway for large transactions, at PNB’s Brady House branch in Mumbai. The bank’s branch had fraudulently issued LoUs for the group of companies belonging to Modi since March 2011.

The total number of LoUs issued to the companies of Modi, his relatives and the Nirav Modi Group were 1,213, and to Mehul Choksi, his relatives and the Gitanjali Group were 377.

Also read: Government To Remove Former PNB Chief Ananthasubramanian From Service