In 2018, it was found PNB was defrauded of over Rs 13,000 crore by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choks
Punjab National Bank (PNB), India's second largest lender, has bought three Audi cars for its top management at a time when the financial sector finds itself in a spot, looking at ways to conserve capital.
According to sources, PNB received these high-end luxury cars worth approximately Rs 1.34 crore last month, unmindful of the coronavirus outbreak, subsequent nationwide lockdown and its crippling effect on the financial sector as well as the economy.
The annual depreciation on this purchase will be around about Rs 20 lakh, sources said.
These luxury cars, sources said, will be used by the managing director (MD) and two senior executive directors.
Besides the MD, there are four executive directors given the size and scale of operation of the bank.
These cars were purchased after approval from the board and within the sanctioned limit for the whole-time directors, sources said, adding, this is a part of routine replacement and the unutilised budget of the last year was carried forward for the purchase.
Interestingly, the secretaries in the union government and cabinet ministers use Maruti Suzuki Ciaz, much less expensive than the German luxury car manufacturer Audi.
In principle, the managing director of a public sector bank is equivalent to an additional secretary in the central government.
Even the chairman of the country's largest lender State Bank of India, who is considered a notch above the managing director of any nationalised bank, uses Toyota Corolla Altis when in the capital.
In the wake of the coronavirus crisis, the finance ministry last week asked all ministries and departments not to initiate any new scheme in the current financial year and stressed on the need to use resources prudently in these difficult times.
Punjab National Bank was defrauded of over Rs 13,000 crore by Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi - a scam that was unearthed in 2018.