New Delhi: Coming down heavily on ruling BJP, Congress on Sunday surrounded the Modi-led central government as Gujarat-based ABG Shipyard scam came out in the open after the CBI booked ABG Shipyard and its former chairman and managing director Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal for allegedly causing a loss of ₹22,842 crore to a consortium of 28 banks.
It is the biggest ever case of bank fraud registered by the agency. Among those named as accused in the First Information Report (FIR) are Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal, Santhanam Muthaswamy, Ashwini Kumar, Sushil Kumar Agarwal, Ravi Vimal Nevetia and ABG International Private Limited. The case has been registered on a complaint from the State Bank of India alleging criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust and abuse of official position.
Counting all the bank fraud cases in recent years, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said now Rishi Agarwal is added to the long list of bank defaulters Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Lalit Modi, Vijay Mallya, Jatin Mehta, Chetan Sandesara etc.
The Congress publicly held a press conference and warned the government that ABG Shipyard is a scam in 2018, Surjewala said. Asking why it took the government five years to take action against ABG Shipyard, the Congress alleged that in 2007 ABG Shipyard was allotted 1,21,000 square metres of land by the Gujarat government when Narendra Modi was the chief minister.
On Saturday, the CBI conducted searches at 13 locations at Surat, Bharuch, Mumbai and Pune leading to the recovery of incriminating documents, the CBI said in a statement.
State Bank of India filed the first complaint, in this case, was filed on November 8, 2019. The investigation agency sought more details and the complaint reportedly missed details like the time of the fraud, modus operandi etc. The bank then filed a fresh complaint in August 2020. After scrutinising the complaint, the CBI filed an FIR on February 7.
According to a complaint by the State Bank of India, the company owes ₹ 2,925 crore to the bank, ₹ 7,089 crore to ICICI Bank, ₹ 3,634 crore to IDBI Bank, ₹ 1,614 crore to Bank of Baroda, ₹ 1,244 to PNB and ₹ 1,228 crore to IOB. Funds were used for purposes other than for which they were released by banks, the CBI said.
In the last 7.5 years of the Modi government, there have been bank frauds of ₹5 lakh 35,000 core, which is people’s money, the Congress said.
ABG Shipyard is the flagship company of the ABG Group engaged in ship-building and ship repair. The company was sanctioned credit facilities of ₹2468.51 crore from 28 banks. Between 2012-17, the promoters of the company allegedly committed illegal activities including diversion of funds, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust. The loan account was declared as a non-performing asset in July 2016 and fraud in 2019.
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.