$1.77 bln fraudulent transactions in Mumbai PNB branch: Filing

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Punjab National Bank's stock sank almost 10% Wednesday after the company said it "detected some fraudulent and unauthorized transactions" at a branch in Mumbai.

"The bank has detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions [messages] in one of its branches in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders with their apparent connivance", the bank said in an official communication.

It is understood that the ED also went through the PNB complaint that was made out against Modi and others.

Firestar, which was also not immediately available for comment, last week said it had no involvement with the case against Modi.

Sebi is likely to probe possible disclosure lapses by banks and other listed companies, including several jewellery firms, that have come under the scanner in connection with the whopping Rs 11,000 crore fraud detected at state-owned PNB.

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This is the second incident in less than 10 days where the bank has been defrauded.

PNB was under scrutiny earlier this month, too, after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) booked billionaire diamond merchant Nirav Modi, his business partner, and his family members for allegedly cheating the bank of over Rs280 crore in 2017.

The officials in the agency, however, confirmed that the transactions cited by the bank in its complaint were linked to Modi and a jewellery company, whose name they have withheld. "The finance ministry has taken proactive steps by asking the lender to report the matter to CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) so that action can be taken quickly", he told PTI.

It is learnt from informed sources that that Nirav Modi wrote to PNB and other banks that he would return the outstanding money. "The amount declared by PNB is unbelievably large and there must be other banks as well where the fraudsters were doing transaction, as PNB has stated", said Asutosh Kumar Mishra, a banking analyst with Reliance Securities.

An LoU is a letter of comfort issued by one bank to branches of other banks, based on which foreign branches offer credit to buyers.

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