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Biggest Bank Fraud: LIC grazed; ICICI, IDBI worst-hit in Rs 22,842 cr scam

Besides LIC, other notables defrauded are: Bank of Baroda (Rs 1,614-crore), EXIM Bank (Rs 1,327 crore), Punjab National Bank (Rs 1,244 crore), Indian Overseas Bank (Rs 1,228 crore)

Tuesday February 15, 2022 11:44 PM, Quaid Najmi, IANS

Rishi Agarwal

Mumbai: The sensational Rs 22,842 crore mega loan fraud allegedly perpetrated by the Gujarat-based ABG Shipyard Ltd (ABGSL) did not spare the IPO-bound Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) while the ICICI Bank and the IDBI Bank took the worst-hit among other government, private, foreign banks, NBFCs, as per official data.

The State Bank of India (SBI) which first reported the scam, has named ABG Shipyard Ltd, the corporate guarantor ABG Shipyard International Pvt Ltd, the company's Chairman-cum-Managing Director Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal, Executive Director Santhanam Muthaswamy, Directors Sushil Kumar Agarwal, Ashwini Kumar (all from Mumbai), Ravi Vimal Nevetia (Pune), besides unknown persons and public servants.

However, the private ICICI Bank has been duped of a staggering Rs 7,089 crore - the highest - followed by the IDBI Bank Ltd, ranking second with the fraud amount of Rs 3,639 crore.

At the third position is the SBI which has admitted its exposure to the tune of Rs 2,925 crore.

The giant IPO bound LIC has also been scraped by Rs 136 crore - with the sole consolation being the entire amount is said to be 'secured'.

The other notables defrauded are: Bank of Baroda (Rs 1,614-crore), EXIM Bank (Rs 1,327 crore), Punjab National Bank (Rs 1,244 crore), Indian Overseas Bank (Rs 1,228 crore).

 


There's the international lender, Standard Chartered Bank (Rs 743 crore), Bank of India (Rs 719 crore), the erstwhile Oriental Bank of Commerce, now PNB (Rs 714 crore), SBI-Singapore (Rs 458 crore), the former Syndicate Bank, now Canara Bank (Rs 408 crore), the then Dena Bank, now Bank of Baroda (Rs 406 crore), and the defunct Andhra Bank, now Union Bank of India (Rs 350 crore).

There are entities like: IFCI Ltd (Rs 300 crore), SICOM Ltd(Rs 260 crore), Phoenix ARC Pvt Ltd (Rs 141 crore), State Bank of Mauritius - SBM Bank Ltd (Rs 125 crore), DCB Bank Ltd (Rs 106-crore).

In the sub Rs 100 crore group are: Punjab National Bank International Ltd (Rs 97 crore), Laxmi Vilas Bank Ltd (Rs 61 crore), Indian Bank Singapore (Rs 43 crore), Canara Bank (Rs 40 crore), Central Bank of India (Rs 39 crore), Punjab & Sind Bank (Rs 37 crore), and YES Bank (Rs 2 crore).

Highlighting the scam, the SBI, has pointed accusing fingers at the ABGSL and its top brass for committing the 'criminal activities,' but has given a clean chit to its own staff.

In the first complaint to the CBI way back on Aug 25, 2020, the SBI had stated: "The accused (ABGSL & its officials) colluded together in committing the criminal activities. However, the involvement of unknown persons and public servants may also be examined during investigations."

It added: "The (SBI) Bank is not suspecting the involvement of its staff in the fraud perpetrated by the accused persons. The bank is not suspecting any common conspirator."

To the CBI's query on this aspect, the SBI said the Competent Authority had dealt with and closed the matter of 'staff accountability' in November 2018.

A Forensic Audit report (of Jan 18, 2019) for the period April 2012-July 2017) revealed how the ABGSL accused "colluded together and committed illegal activities, including diversion of funds, misappropriation, criminal breach of trust and for purposes other than for which the funds are released by the Bank."

After around 20 months, the SBI lodged the complaint with the CBI, New Delhi, and the latter took cognisance 18 months later to file the FIR on February 7, 2022 - or, over three years after the SBI's Forensic Audit first red-flagged the ABGSL mega-scam.

(Quaid Najmi can be contacted at: q.najmi@ians.in)


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