The bank, in a statement, said that the firm was “financed under consortium arrangement with over 2 dozen lenders led by ICICI Bank”. “Due to poor performance, the account became a Non Performing Asset in November 2013. Several efforts were made to revive company operations but couldn’t succeed,” SBI said.
“The account was restructured under CDR mechanism in March 2014 by all lenders. However, as the shipping industry was going through a downturn, one of the worst ever seen, the operations of the company could not be revived. As restructuring failed, the account was classified as NPA in July 2016 with effect from November 2013. E&Y were appointed as Forensic Auditor by lenders in April 2018. Fraud is mainly attributed to diversion of funds, misappropriation and criminal breach of trust,” read the statement.
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 — lodge the complaint with the CBI. “The first complaint was filed with the CBI in November 2019. There was a continuous engagement between the CBI and the banks,” said SBI.
“The account is presently undergoing liquidation under an NCLT driven process… At no point in time was there any effort to delay the process,” it added.
Swaminathan J, SBI MD (Risk Compliance & Stress Assets Resolution Group), said: “We will aim to recover as much as possible. Such cases have been fully provided for, so there will be no impact on the balance sheet of any of the banks or profit/loss accounts.”
The CBI has registered an FIR against ABG Shipyard and its directors for allegedly cheating 28 banks of Rs 22,842 crore.
The agency has booked the firm and its directors Rishi Agarwal, Santhanam Muthuswamy, and Ashwini Kumar two years after the company was declared a “fraud account” by the banks.
As per CBI’s FIR, the firm — which is estimated to have constructed over 160 vessels — owed Rs 7,089 crore to ICICI bank, Rs 3,634 crore to IDBI Bank, Rs 2,925 crore to SBI, Rs 1,614 crore to Bank of Baroda and over Rs 1,200 crore to PNB and Indian Overseas Bank.
According to the forensic audit report submitted to CBI by the banks, the accused firm and its directors diverted and misappropriated the loan amount thereby committing a criminal act and breach of trust. “The money was used for purposes other that the purpose for which the funds were released by the Bank”, the FIR has alleged.