Gem of a scam: On PNB fraud: THE HINDU EDITORIAL

Gem of a scam: On PNB fraud: THE HINDU EDITORIAL

A regulatory filing to the stock exchanges by Punjab National Bank has blown the lid off a ₹11,500-crore fraud. Perhaps the largest such scam in India, it was perpetrated by a maverick diamond merchant in collusion with bank officials at a single branch in South Mumbai. For India’s second largest bank to be defrauded in the manner suggested is astounding, especially since there has been heightened scrutiny of public sector banks’ operations in the last few years. The bank’s audit committees and boards, as well as the central bank, which conducts routine financial inspections of banks’ books, have been ostensibly keeping a close watch on the loans that have turned substandard or are on the verge of default. 
Gem of a scam On PNB fraud THE HINDU EDITORIAL

The government, which has often blamed the pile of bad loans on cronycapitalism during the UPA regime, just last month unveiled a plan to infuse about ₹1 lakh crore into 21 capital-starved public sector banks this fiscal. Of this, ₹5,473 crore is to be injected into PNB. So even if the actual loss the bank ends up incurring on account of this fraud is half the stated amount, its capital adequacy ratio will be back to the same level before the recapitalisation was announced. Its market capitalisation has tanked ₹8,077 crore over the past two days, with the share price falling over 20% since the news broke. The bank’s top brass has said it has acted promptly, suspending around 10 officials. The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked one retired and one serving PNB employee so far. It is also difficult to believe that a handful of junior employees could orchestratesuch a massive fraud. The bank’s managing director has claimed that supervisory lapses are being probed, and the Enforcement Directorate has initiated a money laundering case against the main accused, billionaire-jeweller Nirav Modi, his wife Ami Modi and close associates and relatives. The firms run by him had seen a meteoric rise and an IPO was in the offing after buyouts of global players and a ramp-up of retail presence in India and abroad. It appears that the bank employees who assisted in the fraud routed large transactions for the borrowers by circumventing the core banking solution. This flies in the face of the government’s push for a digital payment economy. PNB has sought to blame overseas branches of other banks for not undertaking due diligence before accepting such transactions, but that may be too simplistic an explanation. An inquiry by the RBI must get to the bottom of the systemic lapses in this affair and fix accountability across the chain of command. The banker-borrower nexus has been blamed for problems in the banking system for years. This episode will set off fears of a nexus deeper than imagined. The RBI and investigating agencies should act speedily to restore trust in the banking system.


1) Blown the lid off
Meaning: To cause something bad that was previously kept secret to be known by the public.
Example: In 1989 they started an investigation that was to blow the lid off corruption in the police force.
Synonyms: Reveal
Antonyms: Conceal
2) Perpetrated
Meaning: Carry out or commit (a harmful, illegal, or immoral action).
Example: “a crime has been perpetrated against a sovereign state”
Synonyms: Commit, Perform
3) Maverick
Meaning: An unorthodox or independent-minded person.
Example: “he’s the maverick of the senate”
Synonyms: Original, Eccentric
Antonyms: Conformist
4) Defrauded
Meaning: Illegally obtain money from (someone) by deception.
Example: “he used a second identity to defraud the bank of thousands of pounds”
Synonyms: Swindle, Cheat
5) Astounding
Meaning: Shock or greatly surprise.
Example: “her bluntness astounded him”
Synonyms: Amaze, Astonish
6) Heightened
Meaning: Make or become more intense.
Example: “the pleasure was heightened by the sense of guilt that accompanied it”
Synonyms: Intensify, Increase
Antonyms: Reduce
7) Ostensibly
Meaning: As appears or is stated to be true, though not necessarily so; apparently.
Example: “the party secretary resigned, ostensibly from ill health”
Synonyms: Apparently, Seemingly
Antonyms: Genuinely, Really
8) Verge
Meaning: An extreme limit beyond which something specified will happen.
Example: “I was on the verge of tears”
Synonyms: Brink, Threshold
Antonyms: Middle
9) Pile
Meaning: A large amount of something.
Example: “he’s making piles of money”
Synonyms: Wealth, Profusion
10) Crony
Meaning: A close friend or companion.
Example: “he went gambling with his cronies”
11) Starved
Meaning: Deprive of something necessary.
Example: “the arts are being starved of funds”
12) Injected
Meaning: To introduce something new that is necessary or helpful to a situation or process.
Example: A large amount of money will have to be injected into the company if it is to survive.
13) Incurring
Meaning: Become subject to (something unwelcome or unpleasant) as a result of one’s own behaviour or actions.
Example: “I will pay any expenses incurred”
Synonyms: Suffer, Sustain
Antonyms: Avoid
14) Promptly
Meaning: With little or no delay; immediately.
Example: “he paid the fine promptly”
Synonyms: Punctually, Quickly
15) Handful
Meaning: A small number of people or things.
Example: She invited all her friends to her party, but only a handful of them turned up.
16) Orchestrate
Meaning: Plan or coordinate the elements of (a situation) to produce a desired effect, especially surreptitiously.
Example: “the situation has been orchestrated by a tiny minority”
Synonyms: Organize, Arrange
17) Lapses
Meaning: A decline from previously high standards.
Example: “tracing his lapse into petty crime”
Synonyms: Decline, Downturn
18) Meteoric
Meaning: (of the development of something) very rapid.
Example: “her meteoric rise to the top of her profession”
Synonyms: Rapid, Swift
Antonyms: Slow, Gradual
19) Offing
Meaning: Leave.
Example: “supposedly loyal workers suddenly upped and offed to the new firms”
20) Buyouts
Meaning: (in business) a situation in which a person or group buys all the shares belonging to a company and so gets control of it.
Example: A management buyout.
21) Ramp-up
Meaning: A large increase in activity or in the level of something.
Example: They saw a ramp-up in orders.
22) Circumventing
Meaning: Overcome (a problem or difficulty) in a clever and surreptitious way.
Example: “it was always possible to circumvent the regulations”
Synonyms: Avoid, Evade
23) Diligence
Meaning: Careful and persistent work or effort.
Example: “few party members challenge his diligence as an MP”
Synonyms: Assiduity, Attentiveness
Antonyms: Laziness, Carelessness
24) Simplistic
Meaning: Treating complex issues and problems as if they were much simpler than they really are.
Example: “simplistic solutions”
Synonyms: Facile, Superficial
25) Accountability
Meaning: The fact or condition of being accountable; responsibility.
Example: “lack of accountability has corroded public respect for business and political leaders”
Synonyms: Responsibility, Liability
26) Nexus
Meaning: An important connection between the parts of a system or a group of things.
Example: Times Square is the nexus of the New York subway.
Synonyms: Important, Essential
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