The Central Bureau of Investigation has registered a case of cheating and criminal conspiracy against ABG Shipyard Limited for allegedly defrauding a consortium of banks of Rs 22,842 crore, PTI reported on Saturday.

This is the biggest case of bank fraud that the central investigating agency has registered yet, reports said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation registered the first information report on February 7 after the State Bank of India filed the first complaint in November 2019.

The FIR was filed after the investigating agency “scrutinised” the matter for 18 months.

The central agency has named the then Chairman and Managing Director Rishi Kamlesh Agarwal and Santhanam Muthaswamy, who was the executive director when the alleged fraud took place, as accused persons.

Others named in the case are Directors Ashwini Kumar, Sushil Kumar Agarwal and Ravi Vimal Nevetia. ABG International Private Limited, another company, has also been named in the case, PTI reported, citing unidentified officials.

Apart from cheating, the Central Bureau of Investigation has invoked provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act for criminal breach of trust and abuse of official position.

The shipping company, which has constructed more than 160 vessels, owes private bank ICICI Rs 7,089 crore, IDBI Bank an amount totalling Rs 3,634 crore, the State Bank of India Rs 2,925 crore and Bank of Baroda Rs 1,614, The Times of India reported, citing the Central Bureau of Investigation’s FIR.

The company also owes the Punjab National Bank and Indian Overseas Bank Rs 1,200 crore.

Fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi is accused of duping the Punjab National Bank of more than Rs 13,000 crore. Businessman Vijay Mallya too owes Rs 9,000 crore to a consortium of banks led by the State Bank of India in a fraud case involving the now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines.

In the case involving ABG Shipyard, the banks had submitted a forensic report to the central investigating agency alleging that the company misappropriated the loans it had borrowed, according The Times of India.

“The money was used for purposes other than the purpose for which the funds were released by the bank,” the FIR said.