Mamata wants PNB fraud probed, FRDI Bill scrapped

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Kolkata, Feb 15 (IANS) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday demanded a thorough investigation into the fraudulent transactions worth $1.8 billion in Punjab National Bank and said she would not let the Central government off the hook until the people’s money is secured.

Banerjee said she has written to the Finance Ministry to scrap the proposed Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill.

“Today people are shocked to see what has happened in the Punjab National Bank in Mumbai. There has been a scam of Rs 11,000 crore. This is the money of common people. Who took away the money? Who ate it up?” she asked during a public meeting in Jhargram district.

“Offenders will run away after stealing the money but what will happen to the common man? Scams like this must be investigated. The security of people’s money must be ensured. We will not let them (the Central government) off the hook until that happens,” she said.

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PNB, the second largest public sector bank in India, detected some fraudulent and unauthorised transactions (messages) at $1,771.69 million (around Rs 11,515 crore) in one of its branches in Mumbai for the benefit of a few select account holders.

The fraud was detected on Wednesday in the PNB’s Brady House Branch in south Mumbai, which is its second-biggest lending branch in the country. A CBI probe has been initiated into the matter and 10 employees of the bank have been placed under suspension.

Accusing the Centre of trying to take away the people’s money deposited in the banks with its FRDI Bill, Banerjee said she has written two “strong letters” to the Finance Ministry demanding the withdrawal of the bill.

“We asked the government to withdraw the bill as they are trying take away the money of the common people. This must not happen. The finance minister acknowledged my letter but then sent a reply through a state minister saying the bill would not impact anything,” the Trinamool Congress supremo said.

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“Today I have written one more strong letter before coming here demanding the withdrawal of FRDI bill. Eating up the money of common man will not be allowed.”

–IANS

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