New Delhi, Feb 19: The Punjab National Bank (PNB), which had detected a USD 1.77 billion (about Rs. 11,400 crores) scam wherein billionaire Nirav Modi allegedly acquired fraudulent letters of undertaking (LoUs), bagged vigilance excellence award over the past three years.

The two awards for excellence in banking vigilance came in 2017, the year PNB issued 293 LoUs to companies owned by Nirav Modi and his family. The awards were given to the PNB by Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) KV Chowdary.

PNB’s Chief Vigilance Officer S K Nagpal received a “Corporate Vigilance Excellence Award” in the second week of March last year at an event in Hyderabad. In October last year, the CVC had organised a Vigilance Awareness Week in New Delhi, where it awarded various PSUs for their anti-corruption work.

PNB bagged the Vigilance Excellence Award for “‘Outstanding’ Achievement in ‘Timely Completion of Disciplinary Proceedings’”, according to the website of the CVC. On the Hyderabad award, Chowdary reportedly said that he had distributed certificates but the winners were selected by the organisers and not him or CVC.

On the Commission’s own award, the CVC told a newspaper, “CVC gives awards annually based on various categories of work. PNB was awarded for bringing down departmental proceedings. See, if you do well in English, you will get good marks. But that won’t take you through Hindi as well.”

According to PNB website, the bank won the IPE vigilance award in 2014-15 as well, for “improved handling of complaints, institution of whistleblowing system, quick disposal of vigilance cases, reduction in outstanding vigilance cases, pruning down of vigilance cases of more than one year etc”.

Meanwhile, KV Chowdhary is expected to meet scam-hit PNB’s Chief Executive Sunil Mehta and the bank’s Chief Vigilance Officer today to seek explanation on the Rs 11,400 crore fraud involving diamantaire Nirav Modi and others. The PNB has lodged two financial fraud complaints of Rs. 11400 crore and Rs 280 crore against Nirav Modi, his family members and Mehul Choksi, the owner of Gitanjali Gems.