MUMBAI: With controversy breaking out over delay in filing the first information report (FIR) by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) against ABG Shipyard, State Bank of India (SBI) has clarified that banks were not responsible for the delay.
The loans to the troubled shipbuilder were extended by over a consortium of two dozen lenders, led by ICICI Bank which turned non-performing in November 2013, following which the loans were restructured under Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) scheme in 2014. “However, as the shipping industry was going through a downturn, one of the worst ever seen, the operations of the company could not revive,” State Bank of India said in a statement on Sunday.
As the restructuring failed, the account was classified as NPA in July 2016 with backdated effect from 30th Nov. 2013. E&Y was appointed as Forensic Auditor by lenders during April 2018 and they submitted their report in January 2019. E&Y report was placed before the Fraud Identification Committee of 18 Lenders in 2019. Fraud was mainly attributed to diversion of funds, misappropriation, and criminal breach of trust.
“Although, ICICI Bank was the lead lender in the consortium and IDBI was the second lead, it was preferred that SBI being the largest PSB lender, lodges the complaint with CBI. The first complaint was filed with CBI in Nov 2019. There was a continuous engagement between CBI and Banks and further information was getting exchanged,” SBI said.
On Friday, the CBI booked ABG Shipyard Ltd and its former chairman and managing director Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal along with others for allegedly cheating a consortium of banks for over Rs 22,842 crore – touted as the biggest fraud in the Indian banking history.
Besides Agarwal, the investigating 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, media reports said. —PTI