ABG Shipyard Limited, one of the India’s largest private sector shipyard firm, has been booked in a bank fraud case by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). On Saturday, the CBI filed a case against ABG Shipyard and its then chairman and managing director Rishi Agarwal, and others for allegedly defrauding 28 banks of Rs 22,842 crore.
Officials have also informed that besides Agarwal, the agency has also named the 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 IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.
ABG Shipyard Ltd is the flagship company of the ABG Group which is engaged in shipbuilding and ship repair. The shipyards are located in Dahej and Surat in Gujarat.
It is one of the biggest bank fraud (bigger than Punjab National Bank scam involving Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi) cases which the CBI will be investigating.
In the FIR filed on complaint of State Bank of India (SBI), the forensic audit report revealed that from April 2012 to July 2017, the accused colluded with each other and committed illegal activities including diversion of funds, misappropriation, and criminal breach of trust and for purposes other than for the purpose for which the funds are released by the bank.
According to a complaint by the State Bank of India, the company owes Rs 2,925 crore to the bank, Rs 7,089 crore to ICICI Bank, Rs 3,634 crore to IDBI Bank, Rs 1,614 crore to Bank of Baroda, Rs 1,244 to PNB and Rs 1,228 crore to IOB. Funds were used for purposes other than for which they were released by banks, the CBI said.
The company was sanctioned credit facilities from 28 banks and financial institutions with the SBI having exposure of Rs 2468.51 crore, the investigation agency said.
State Bank of India had first filed a complaint on November 8, 2019 on which the CBI had sought some clarifications on March 12, 2020. Further, the bank filed a fresh complaint in August that year. After “scrutinising” for over one and a half-year, the CBI acted on the complaint filing an FIR on February 7, 2022.
The group is promoted by Rishi Agarwal, who has been one of the key player in the Indian ship building industry. ABG Shipyard Limited (ABGSL), shipyards has capacity to build vessels up to 18,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT) at Surat Shipyard and 1,20,000 dead weight tonnage (DWT) at Dahej Shipyard.
ABGSL has constructed over 165 vessels (including 46 for export market) in the last 16 years including specialised vessels like newsprint carriers, self-discharging and loading bulk cement carriers, floating cranes, interceptor boats, dynamic positioning diving support vessels, pusher tugs and flotilla for leading companies in India and abroad.
With inputs from News18