In the aftermath of Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud case, a couple of banks had clamped down on the issue of LoUs.
Punjab National Bank had reported fraudulent issuances of Letters of Undertakings (LoUs) and Letters of Credit (LoCs) for the payment of import bills and fraudulent transactions in accounts, amounting to Rs 12,967.86 crore to the RBI through its fraud monitoring reporting system.
The CBI since then registered seven cases that also include other banks like State Bank of India, OBC, Bank of Maharashtra and Telangana Grameena Bank.
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"Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has apprised that it had issued two circulars to banks in the months of August and November 2016, related to security and operational controls in the SWIFT environment", minister of state for finance Shiv Pratap Shukla told the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
In today's plea before the special CBI court, the agency said it has filed another supplementary complaint about additional fraud of Rs 942 crore, taking the total amount of fraud to Rs 7,080 crore.
During issuance of LoU, there are four parties involved - issuing bank, receiving bank, importer and beneficiary entity overseas. Banks charge a fee from the importer for the LoU. Indian banks in Hong Kong paid the "suppliers" of these firms based on the LoUs. "This is clearly a risk mitigating step as letter of credit are governed by Uniform Customs and Practice for Documentary Credits, which has a well defined set of rules and procedures", said a senior official at one of the public sector banks. Recent reports also highlight that, billionaire Modi has refused to join the CBI investigation related to the case, citing that he has a business overseas.