PNB CEO: Nirav Modi losses can be recovered in six months
The Punjab National Bank (PNB) believes that it can make back the losses incurred from the Nirav Modi fraud scandal in six months and the bank’s CEO, Sunil Mehta, has some words for the diamond tycoon.
The PNB’s CEO Sunil Mehta is confident that the bank will recover soon despite its huge exposure in the current Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi fraud case. The bank has “bad loans” totalling 57,000 crore rupees (approximately 8.6 billion US dollars) which it can use to work on assets and then swiftly resume business as normal following the scandal.
Mehta told the Economic Times: “Capital ratios will not be majorly impacted. It will not constrain us from doing business.” This is an optimistic outlook but the bank is confident that it will not be ruined by the jewellers’ fraud which has rocked the Indian banking sector to its core.
Nirav Modi, who has still refused to return to India for the investigation and who the Defence Minister is now vowing to capture, has tried to blame the PNB for the scandal. However, Mehta spoke back and said: “Anybody interested in a resolution will come across the table, work out solutions, come out with a bankable proposal. They will not flee the country and send emails meant for the media. There has to be a concrete proposal but then there is nothing, not now or before. It is too early to say how much can be recovered from what has been confiscated.”
Mehul is clear- the fault lies with Modi. The courts will have to decide themselves if the government is able to bring Modi to trial. In the meantime, the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC), of which both jewellers Modi and Choksi are members, has threatened to revoke their membership and has tried to show that the case is the exception and not the rule in the industry. Mehta maintains that the bank’s business has gone up and, in the wake of the scandal, many banks and jewellers in India are rolling out damage control measures.
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