Bank fraud: ED attaches Rs 5.4 crore assets in Sterling biotech case
NEW DELHI: The Enforcement Directorate has attached assets worth Rs 5.4 crore in connection with its probe in an alleged Rs 5,700-crore bank loan fraud case linked to a Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company.
The attached immovable properties, one each in Faridabad and Gurgaon, belong to Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan, who was arrested by the ED and is out on bail.
A provisional order for attachment of the assets was issued by the agency under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
A similar order was passed against Dhawan by the agency in the past.
The case relates to a money laundering case registered against the Sandesara brothers — Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara — and their Vadodara-based firm Sterling Biotech Limited and others on October 27 last year, two days after a case of bank fraud of Rs 5,700 crore and corruption was filed against them by the CBI.
"Dhawan is accused of assisting and facilitating Nitin and Chetan Sandesara, directors and promoters of Sterling Biotech group, who are accused in the said bank loan fraud case," the central probe agency said in a statement.
The investigation has revealed that Rs 5.4 crore was diverted from loan funds by Sandersara brothers and others and were subsequently given to Dhawan, it said.
"Dhawan utilised these proceeds of crime to purchase and develop the said attached properties," it said.
The businessman, it said, was "actively involved in the offence of money laundering."
The agency is set to file a fresh, supplementary charge sheet in this case detailing the role of the Sandesara brothers.
It has also notified the Interpol to obtain a global arrest warrant against them as they have left the country for an undisclosed location, with reports suggesting their location to be either in the UAE or Nigeria.
The ED has filed a few chargesheets, called prosecution complaints, in this case in the past against other accused, including Dhawan.
With the latest order, the total attachment in this case by the ED stands at Rs 4,710 crore, it said.
The ED and the CBI have booked the company, its directors — the Sandesara brothers, DiChetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former director Andhra Bank Anup Garg and a few unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud case.
It is alleged that the company took loans of more than Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which had turned into non-performing assets.
As per the FIR, the total pending dues of the group of companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016.