PNB stocks continue to slump, Gitanjali Gems plunges 20%

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Mumbai, Feb 16 (IANS) Extending losses for the third consecutive day, PNB’s shares slipped almost five per cent during the mid-afternoon trade session on Friday. Stocks of jewellery company Gitanjali Gems also plunged almost 20 per cent.

The shares of Punjab National Bank (PNB) — the second largest public sector bank in India — started to decline after a $1.8 billion fraud was detected in one of its branches in Mumbai on February 14, and authorities blamed billionaire diamond trader Nirav Modi for the fraud.

Scrips of PNB slipped by 4.40 per cent to trade at Rs 122.70 per share, lower by Rs 5.65 from the previous close at Rs 128.35.

Stocks of Gitanjali Gems, the luxury jewellery brand promoted by Modi’s maternal uncle and business partner Mehul Choksi, plunged 19.94 per cent.

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PNB on Wednesday informed the stock exchanges through a regulatory filing that it detected a $1.8 billion fraud in one of its branches in Mumbai.

In the filing, PNB put the quantum of fraudulent transactions at $1,771.69 million (around Rs 11,515 crore), which is equivalent to eight times the bank’s net income of about Rs 1,320 crore ($206 million).

The bank’s shares had plunged drastically on Wednesday following the news of the fraud to close lower by 9.81 per cent at the BSE.

On Thursday, too, the scrips dropped by almost 12 per cent.

The fraud, which included money-laundering among other things, concerned the Firestar Diamonds group of Modi, in which the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked Modi, his wife Ami, brother Nishal and uncle Choksi.

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On Thursday, the Enforcement Directorate launched a nationwide raid on the offices, showrooms and workshops of Nirav Modi.

–IANS

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