Shares of India’s second-largest private sector lender ICICI Bank plummeted over 2.5% at market closing after falling into negative territory within seconds after SFIO (Serious Fraud Investigation Office) summoned ICICI Bank’s MD and CEO Chanda Kochhar in PNB fraud case. Along with Chanda Kochhar, the MD and CEO of Axis Bank Shikha Sharma has also been summoned by SFIO with regard to the biggest banking scandal which unraveled at nation’s second-largest PSU bank Punjab National Bank. According to various TV reports, SFIO confirmed sending notices to ICICI Bank’s MD Chanda Kochhar and Axis Bank’s MD & CEO Shikha Sharma. Both the top bankers, Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma have been asked to appear today in office in Mumbai. Reportedly, both Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma have been authorised to send their representatives as well.
The stock of ICICI Bank shed as much as 3% to hit a day’s low of Rs 294 before closing down 2.64% at Rs 295.1 on BSE. A heavy trading volume has been observed in the shares of ICICI Bank, as at end of the day, more than 1.97 crore shares exchanged hands on both NSE and BSE with about 1.89 lakh shares on NSE alone. While, on the other hand, shares of Axis Bank faced a minor jerk when the news broke but extended losses in the last one hour when Sensex tanked over 500 points. The stock of Axis Bank slumped 2.42% in the intraday deals before concluding down 1.31% at Rs 516.8 on BSE.
The SFIO had summoned the top bankers Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma after three weeks when the state-run lender Punjab National Bank informed that the bank had found “fraudulent and unauthorised” transactions amounting Rs 11,394 crore at one of the branches in Mumbai. Recently last week, PNB further said that the quantum of the fraud amount may rise by Rs 1,323 crore taking the total fraud amount nearly to Rs 12,700 crore. Amid the biggest banking scam in India at PNB, the diamond merchant Nirav Modi was accused of obtaining buyer’s credit (a type of loan) from the foreign branches of several Indian lenders on the basis of fake LOU (Letters of Undertaking) issued by Punjab National Bank by unfair means.
Along with Nirav Modi, the promoter of Gitanjali Gems, Mehul Choksi was also named in the fraud by the investigative agencies ED and CBI. Following the continuous probe on the jewellery maker Gitanjali Gems, the stock had fallen about 71% in the period of last 14 days.
This story was updated with stock’s closing prices