By Vrishti Beniwal (Bloomberg) —
India’s federal police charged the founders of ABG Shipyard Ltd. and the company for allegedly causing a massive loss of about 228.4 billion rupees ($3 billion) to banks, including the nation’s largest lender State Bank of India and private sector ICICI Bank Ltd.
This is bigger than the $2 billion fraud — considered to be India’s largest — that disgraced diamond dealer Nirav Modi is alleged to have conducted around four years back.
The Indian ship-building company allegedly cheated a consortium of 28 banks and diverted the loans given by the lenders, the Central Bureau of Investigation said in a statement on Sunday. The federal agency said it acted on a complaint from the SBI.
SBI said it traced the origin of the problem to 2013 when ABG Shipyard became a non-performing loan as the shipping industry went through a downturn. A forensic audit report by E&Y in 2019 showed “diversion of funds, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust,” the lender said in a statement Sunday.
Searches were conducted at the premises of ABG Shipyard and its directors, leading “to recovery of incriminating documents”, the CBI said, adding that the “investigation is continuing”.
Officials at ABG Shipyard were not available to comment outside office hours on Sunday.
The struggling company, which was a major player in India’s ship-building industry, was among the “dirty dozen” referred by the Reserve Bank of India to be taken up under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy code in 2016.(Updates with SBI statement in fourth paragraph.)
–With assistance from Shruti Srivastava.
© 2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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