Former ABG Shipyard chairman Rishi Agarwal has been questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in relation to the 22,842 crore bank scandal, said to be the country’s largest.
According to sources, the agency searched his home on Saturday, after which a summons was filed and he was interrogated this week.
The agency is looking into ABG Shipyard Ltd and its former directors Rishi Agarwal, Santhanam Muthuswamy, and Ashwini Kumar, all are suspected of defrauding 28 banks of Rs 22,842 crore.
According to the State Bank of India, the firm owes the bank 2,925 crores, ICICI Bank 7,089 crore, IDBI Bank 3,634 crore, Bank of Baroda 1,614 crore, PNB 1,244 crore, and IOB 1,228 crore. The money was utilised for reasons other than those for which they had been given by banks, according to the CBI.
In conjunction with the fraud case, the Enforcement Department launched a money-laundering probe against them yesterday.
As per the CBI, the erstwhile promoters transferred the loans to 98 connected entities. According to reports, the ED will investigate the alleged “diversion,” the formation of shell companies to launder public funds, and the activity of corporate leaders.
The ABG Group’s flagship enterprise is the Gujarat-based ABG Shipyard, which was previously a major leader in shipbuilding and ship repair. In the previous 16 years, its shipyards in Gujarat’s Dahej and Surat have manufactured over 165 boats. 46 of these ships were destined for export.
The alleged theft was discovered during a forensic audit conducted by Ernst & Young LLP in 2019.
According to the Press Trust of India, the State Bank’s lawsuit stated that the global economic slowdown and the shipbuilding sector triggered the issue. It had an impact on the shipping sector owing to a drop in commodities demand and prices, as well as a consequent drop in cargo demand.