The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on February 15 that it has issued lookout notices to Rishi Agarwal and other ABG Shipyard directors in connection with an alleged Rs 23,000 crore bank fraud case, to ensure they do not leave the country while the matter is being investigated.

“The lookout circulars were issued against the directors of ABG Shipyard in the Rs 22,842 crore bank loan fraud case,” a senior CBI official told ANI.

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According to the CBI, instances of fraud were discovered between April 2012 and July 2017 in a forensic audit report obtained from banks two years ago.

The CBI charged ABG Shipyard Ltd and its former chairman and managing director (CMD) Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal, along with others, in its largest bank fraud case on February 12 for allegedly cheating a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India (SBI) of over Rs 22,842 crore.

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According to forensic audit data included in the CBI complaint, the company owes ICICI Bank Rs 7,089 crore, IDBI Bank Rs 3,634 crore, State Bank of India Rs 2,925 crore, Bank of Baroda Rs 1,614 crore, Punjab National Bank Rs 1,244 crore, and Indian Overseas Bank Rs 1,228 crore.

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Apart from Agarwal, the investigating agency has named Santhanam Muthaswamy, the company’s then-executive director, as well as directors Ashwini Kumar, Sushil Kumar Agarwal, and Ravi Vimal Nevetia. The CBI has also charged another company, ABG International Pvt Ltd, with criminal conspiracy, cheating, criminal breach of trust, and abuse of official position under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Act,  Moneycontrol reported.

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On November 8, 2019, SBI filed a complaint against ABG Shipyard, and on March 12, 2020, the CBI sought a clarification. Later in August 2019, a fresh complaint was submitted, after which the CBI filed an FIR on February 7, 2022, following more than a year of investigation.

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In July 2016, the loan account was declared a non-performing asset (NPA), and in 2019 it was declared a fraud. However, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated on February 14 that the loans given to ABG Shipyard had become NPAs prior to 2014.