UBI names Choksi, Gitanjali Gems as willful defaulters

State-run United Bank of India on Thursday issued a public notice declaring Gitanjali Gems and its fugitive owner Mehul Choksi as willful defaulters and sent them notices seeking repayment of Rs 332 crore dues.

Diamantaires Choksi and his nephew Nirav Modi are the kingpins behind the nation's biggest banking fraud, came to be known as the PNB scam in February 2018. They have defrauded the state-run bank of over Rs 13,000 crore through the Brady House branch at the tony Horniman Circle area in south Mumbai between 2011 and 2017.

According to the public notice, United Bank has declared the company and Choksi as willful defaulters effective June quarter.

The notice was issued after the company failed to repay the dues despite several notices by it, the bank said. Besides Choksi, his wife, Priti Choksi, and directors of Gitanjali Gems have also been given notices by the bank. United Bank had sanctioned Rs 331.85 crore in credit limit to Choksi's firm, which was into jewellery manufacturing and export. The bank had declared the account an NPA in March 2018.

Earlier this year, another state-run bank Oriental Bank of Commerce had declared Choksi and Modi as willful defaulters. In the June quarter, United Bank had reported a net profit of Rs 105 crore as against a net loss of Rs 388.68 crore as it gross NPAs improved to 15.89 percent from 22.73 percent, while net NPA nearly halved to 8.19 percent from 15.17 percent.

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