PNB's bad-loan woes mount to over Rs 151 bn on back of Nirav Modi fraud

Punjab National Bank

Big wilful defaulters owed Rs 151.72 billion in loans to Punjab National Bank at the end of March this year.

The data from the bank relates to those wilful defaulters who have taken loans of Rs 25 lakh and above but did not repay despite the ability to do so.

The liability on such defaulters rose by 1.8 per cent from Rs 149.04 bn in February.

The public sector lender has been putting out the names of wilful defaulters and firms since June 2017. Within ten months, these defaults have grown by 28 per cent, from Rs 118.79 bn.

The major wilful defaulters include chemical manufacturer Kudos Chemie Ltd -- Rs 13 billion; Kingfisher Airlines -- Rs 5.97 bn ; VMC Systems Ltd -- Rs 2.96 bn; Arvind Remedies -- Rs 1.58 bn and Indu Projects Ltd Rs 1.02 bn.

All these companies were provided loans by PNB as part of consortium lending.

Others in the list include Winsome Diamonds and Jewellery -- Rs 8.99 bn; Zoom Developers -- Rs 4.10 bn; Jas infrastructure and Power Ltd -- Rs 4.10 bn; Apple Industries -- Rs 2.48 bn; Nafed -- Rs 2.24 bn; MBS Jewellers Pvt Ltd -- Rs 2.66 bn and S Kumar Nationwide -- Rs 1.46 bn.

For third quarter ended December 31 of last fiscal, 2017-18, PNB's gross non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans stood at Rs 575.19 bn or 12.11 per cent of the gross advances.

In 2016-17, the gross NPAs were 12.53 per cent of the gross advances at Rs 553.70 bn.

Hit by the over Rs 130 bn fraud, PNB has been trying to clean up its books. Multiple agencies are investigating the case and working on bringing back the alleged wrongdoers billionaire diamond jeweller Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi of Gitanjali Gems, who have fled the country.

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