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IANS

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 were the worst-hit among other banks, FII and corporates, 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 also has been grazed – by Rs 136 – with the sole consolation being the entire amount is said to be 'secured'.

Highlighting the scame, the SBI, has pointed accusing fingers at the (above-mentioned) ABGSL officials 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 Nov 2018.

A forensic Audit report (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."

The SBI complaint was lodged with the CBI, New Delhi, only around 20 months after the Forensic Audit report, while the central probe agency took cognisance 18 months later to file the FIR on Feb 7,2022.

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