The Central Bureau of Investigation on Saturday filed a charge sheet against former ABG Shipyard Chairman Rishi Agarwal and 24 others for cheating a consortium of 28 banks to the tune of ₹22,842 crore.
The agency had launched an investigation after registering an FIR on February 7 on a complaint filed by the State Bank of India that the promoter and chairman Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal along with others such as its former CFO Dhananjay Datar, Vice-President (Accounts) Praveen Bhandari and Assistant Vice-President (Accounts) Santhanam Muthuswamy, colluded to cheat a consortium of 28 banks led by the ICICI Bank, said the CBI.
The CBI investigation has revealed that huge amounts were allegedly transferred by the accused to their related parties and subsequently adjustment entries were made to cover up siphoning off bank loans. The agency has also charged that huge investments were made in ABG Shipyard’s overseas subsidiary by diverting the bank loans. Also, funds from banks were allegedly diverted to purchase huge assets in the name of its related parties.
ABG Shipyard’s account turned Non-Performing Asset (NPA) on November 30, 2013, and the majority of loan disbursement allegedly happened between 2005 and 2013, the CBI said. The account was restructured under the corporate debt restructuring (CDR) mechanism on March 27, 2014, but operations of the company could not be revived.
The agency had also arrested its prime accused including Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal in September to unearth money laundering. A forensic audit in 2019 by Ernst and Young revealed that the evidence of ABG Shipyard’s fraud was committed between April 2012 and July 2017, through “diversion of funds, misappropriation, and criminal breach of trust, with an objective to gain unlawfully at the cost of the bank’s funds.”