The Punjab National Bank: The Modi Fraud-System Failure or People Failure?
In February 2018, Punjab National Bank (PNB) in India reported a US$1.8-billion fraud related to the illegal issuance of letters of undertaking. The fraud was engineered by one of the leading diamond jewelers of India, Nirav Modi; his uncle, Mehul Choksi; and employees of PNB's Brady House branch in Mumbai. Indian investigative agencies found that the previous top management of PNB along with other employees had also been involved in or had prior knowledge about the fraud. PNB's current chief executive officer, Sunil Mehta, was trying to steer PNB out of the crisis. What key challenges did Mehta face with respect to managing the operational risks of PNB? Was Mehta right to consider the fraud a people issue and not a systems issue? Arpita Agnihotri is affiliated with Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg. Saurabh Bhattacharya is affiliated with Newcastle University.