ABG Shipyard allegedly used a total of 98 related entities, including 60 Indian firms and 38 overseas companies to divert the Rs 22,842 crore borrowed from banks in what is touted to be the biggest bank fraud in the country, Economic Times reported, citing sources.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED), which are investigating the fraud, will write to foreign countries to seek more information on the 38 overseas companies related to the case, the ET report said.
The CBI had questioned Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal, former chairman and MD of ABG Shipyard, two days ago in connection with the loan default after carrying out search operations on the company's premises, the agency said on Thursday.
ABG Shipyard and its directors have been booked by both the agencies on charges of criminal conspiracy, cheating and money laundering, duping a consortium of 28 banks led by the State Bank of India. It had earlier issued a lookout circular for Agarwal and other accused, including Santhanam Muthaswamy and Ashwani Kumar to prevent them from fleeing the country.
“He (Agarwal) may be called for questioning again. Other accused in the case will also be questioned in due course,” Indian Express quoted a CBI official as saying.
One Singapore-based company that may have been used by ABG Shipyard to divert funds was mentioned in a 2019 forensic audit report prepared by Ernst & Young (EY). The audit report noted that the 2014 master debt restructuring agreement between the lenders and ABG Shipyard had a clause that said the borrower would realise Rs 236 crore investment made by its subsidiary ABG Shipyard Singapore Ltd within two months from the date of the corporate debt restructuring. The report further noted that the "payment paid to ABG SL Singapore may be potentially diverted".
EY could be one of the key prosecution witnesses in the ABG Shipyard bank fraud case.