CBI FIR against Sterling Biotech for Rs 5,000 cr loan default
New Delhi: The CBI has registered a fresh case against Sterling Biotech Limited, which was under probe for allegedly bribing senior tax officials, for defaulting loans worth over Rs 5,383 crore.
The agency has booked Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech, its Directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, Chartered Accountant Hemant Hathi, former Director Andhra Bank Anup Garg and other unidentified persons.
The CBI has alleged that the company had taken loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which have turned into non-performing assets.
The FIR has alleged that the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016.
The directors of the company "connived with the in-house chartered accountant and falsified material records of the company", such as production, turnover and investments in capital assets, the FIR alleged.
"This was allegedly done using various India-based entities and those situated abroad," it alleged.
The company was earlier booked by the CBI in August for allegedly bribing senior Income Tax department officials.
On June 28, 2011, the IT department had conducted searches and seizures at 25 premises of Sterling Biotech Ltd, during which a diary containing hand-written records of financial transactions was found, the FIR in that case had alleged.
"Some of these names were appended with further references such as IT or Commissioner etc," it had alleged.
In the present case, the CBI has booked all the accused for criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and corruption among other charges.
The CBI has alleged that false and fabricated documents and manipulated balance sheets were prepared for getting loans sanctioned from the banks which were later diverted for personal purposes.
It said that in an attempt to cheat the banks and falsely represent market capitalisation of the group companies, the shares in India and abroad in the names of non-promoters were held by directors themselves and were concealed from banks.
The CBI FIR alleged that the directors had quoted false documents under their signatures with "mala fide intention" to induce banks to sanction and release the credit limits.
"In three areas manipulation was substantial reporting of turnover of companies, reporting of investments in capital goods (fixed assets) and taxes to be paid on the manipulated turnover," it alleged.
The agency alleged that the company had purchased capital goods worth only Rs 50 crore for the year March 31, 2008, but in bank accounts it showed Rs 405 crore of which Rs 355 crore was to be diverted through the group companies.
"Actual turnover of all factories of SBL was Rs 304.80 crore during 2007-08 whereas in Income Tax return and in the balance sheets it was shown as Rs 918.30 crore," the FIR alleged.
The FIR said benami entities of the group were used for trading in the shares of SBL as off market transactions.
Shares of SBL and Sterling International Enterprises were being covertly traded by the Sandesaras making it a clear case of insider trading and amounts to fraud on general public, it alleged.
"The SBL has diverted the loan amounts to entities abroad through its group companies by adopting circuitous route," the FIR alleged.
It said Sandesaras were allegedly supplying regular money in Delhi to the then Director Andhra Bank Anup Kumar Garg with the help of hawala operators.
"The turnover of SBL group companies was falsified under a design and a scheme. Bogus invoices of sale and purchase and corresponding transfer of money from companies was done and falsified data and figures were taken on record of companies and those falsified accounts and records were further certified by their chartered accountant," the FIR alleged.
The CBI has alleged that chartered accountant Hathi provided active guidance to manipulate the financial data to cheat the banks for arranging higher loans inspite of the company being ineligible for them.
"The accounts of Sterling Port Limited, Natasha Investment Company Limited and Sterling International Enterprises (all group companies of Sterling Biotech Limited) have also been used for diversion of funds," it alleged.