The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has arrested Rishi Agarwal, the founder-chairman of ABG Shipyard Group, in an alleged bank fraud case amounting to over Rs 22,800 crore, CNBC TV-18 reported on September 21.
Agarwal, along with ABG Shipyard and others, was booked by the central agency in February this year for allegedly cheating a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) of over Rs 22,842 crore.
Besides Agarwal, the agency had also named ABG Shipyard's then executive director Santhanam Muthaswamy, directors Ashwini Kumar, Sushil Kumar Agarwal and Ravi Vimal Nevetia and another company ABG International Pvt Ltd for alleged offences of criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and abuse of official position under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
This is reported to be the biggest bank fraud case registered by the CBI.
Notably, the SBI had first filed a complaint on November 8, 2019, on which the CBI had sought some clarifications on March 12, 2020. The bank filed a fresh complaint in August that year. After scrutinising, the CBI acted on the complaint and filed an FIR on February 7, 2022.
The company was sanctioned credit facilities from 28 banks and financial institutions with the SBI having exposure of Rs 2,468.51 crore, the agency officials had told news agency PTI.
The Forensic Audit has shown that between 2012-17, the accused colluded together and committed illegal activities including diversion of funds, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust, the officials had reportedly said.
The loan account was declared a non-performing asset (NPA) in July 2016 and a fraud in 2019.
The alleged delay in the registration of FIR by the CBI had drawn criticism from the Opposition. The Congress, the country's prime Opposition party, had questioned the Centre in February on why it took five years after the liquidation proceedings of ABG Shipyard to lodge a case in connection with the alleged duping of 28 banks.
"Why did the Modi government refuse to take note of the allegations made on February 15, 2018 by the Congress, warning of a scam in ABG Shipyard, and why no FIR was lodged and criminal action taken despite their accounts having been declared as fraud on June 19, 2019?" the party had asked.
The Enforcement Directorate, another federal probing agency, initiated an investigation into alleged money laundering after after studying the CBI FIR against the former promoters of the ship building company. The ED case was also registered in February.With PTI inputs