The Centre on Monday removed Usha Ananthasubramanian, former managing director of the Punjab National Bank and Allahabad Bank from service with immediate effect and also granted approval to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to prosecute her in the PNB-Nirav Modi fraud case.
Ananthasubramanian was to superannuate on Monday but has been dismissed from service. The development comes nearly three months after state-owned Allahabad Bank divested her of all powers after CBI named her involvement in the Rs 14,000 crore PNB scam.
The Centre also gave approval to prosecute former executive director (ED) of PNB Sanjiv Sharan in the Rs 14,356 crore scam. With jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi being the focus of investigations in the PNB scam, the agency will probe Ananthasubramanian and Sharan’s role. Ananthasubramanian was the head of PNB between August 2015 and May 2017 and executive director at PNB from July 2011 to November 2013. Early this year, Ananthasubramanian became the first woman to be elected as the chairman of the Indian Banks Association, the 71-year old industry body for banks.
In May, the CBI had filed a chargesheet in the PNB matter in a Mumbai sessions court.
Senior finance ministry officials said that the sanction for prosecution will
now help investigating agencies to prosecute these officials.
“Prior permission of the government is needed to start proceedings
against public servants,” the official said.
The Parliament had recently cleared amendments to Prevention of Corruption Act, according to which investigating agencies need to get prior sanction of the appropriate authority to prosecute government officials, including those that have retired.
“The chargesheet had been registered for a total amount of Rs 7,080.86 crore, covering 142 letters of undertaking (LoUs) and 58 foreign letters of credit. It named 18 entities and individuals, including top PNB officials,” the official said.