PNB scam: Top executives quit Gitanjali citing ‘conscience’, personal reasons

NEW DELHI: Two top executives along with a board member of Gitanjali Gems quit, in the aftermath of the Rs 11,300-crore scam that has rocked India’s second largest state lender Punjab National Bank. Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Chandrakant Karkare, Vice President (Compliance and Company Secretary) Pankhuri Warange and board member Krishnan Sangameswaran have decided to step down with immediate effect, Gitanjali Gems said in a notification to the bourses.

Warange said her “conscience” doesn’t permit her to continue after “the recent event unfolded”. She stated, “Being a key managerial personnel and the designated compliance officer, I have certain statutory duties and responsibilities towards the stakeholders. The recent event unfolded in the organisation requires the company to make disclosures under the Companies Act 2013 and the SEBI requirements 2015. I have advised the management on the required disclosures to be made. The absence of disclosures will have ramification not just on the company but also on the key managerial personnel. There is no consensus in my opinion on the disclosures to be made and that of the management and in these circumstances, my conscience doesn’t permit me to continue with my position. I have, therefore, taken a conscious decision of resigning and relinquishing my position as the company secretary and compliance officer with immediate effect.”
Karkare, however, cited his wife’s health as the reason behind his leaving, in a letter to the company, dated February 15.

He wrote: “I am very grateful to you for assigning me the responsibility of CFO in the company and I have executed my responsibilities in a professional way. Sir, recently my wife has undergone a major surgery called Hemicolectomy at Lilavati Hospital. The post operation recovery is not up to the expected level. This has resulted in restriction on my carrying responsibilties as CFO and will be very difficult for me in future. Sir, taking the above factor in consideration, I would like to request you to relinquish me from responsibilities of CFO of the company. Kindly accept my resignations from the post of CFO with immediate effect.”

In another notification to the stock exchanges, the company further said that Sangameswaran has also announced his resignation from the board of the company.
Shares of Gitanjali Gems continued to fall for the fourth straight session on Friday, plunging 10 per cent as investor sentiment remained muted. On February 14, PNB disclosed that it detected some fraudulent transactions and the matter has been referred to law enforcement agencies for the recovery.