I-T dept questions PNB chief again; bank board to meet on February 26

Punjab National Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Sunil Mehta
The income tax (I-T) department on Wednesday quizzed Punjab National Bank Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Sunil Mehta again in the Rs 114 billion scam.


“The PNB chief was summoned to the income tax department office on Wednesday. He was questioned for at least two hours,” an official said.


I-T sleuths had come to the PNB headquarters in Delhi to question Mehta on Monday. He was questioned for around four hours on Tuesday, sources said. The CBI on Tuesday also questioned an executive director and nine other officials of the bank.


The Delhi-based bank is scheduled to hold a board meeting on February 26, its first since the scam came to the fore. “The board will take stock of the situation and hold discussions on the corrective measures to be taken,” an official said.


The PNB board has a non-executive chairman, a nominee each from the Reserve Bank of India and the Centre and a part-time non-official director under the chartered accountant category, among others.


The board meeting comes at a time when Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has come down heavily on PNB’s management for its failure to check the fraud.


“When authority is given to the management, you are expected to utilise that authority effectively and in a right manner. Therefore, the question for the management itself is, was it found lacking? And on the face of it, the answer seems yes. You are found lacking when you are unable to check who among them were delinquent,” Jaitley said at an event on Tuesday.


The finance ministry has also questioned the role of the RBI as a bank regulator, asking it how the scam could not be detected despite having an RBI representative on the boards of public sector banks.

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