Non-bailable warrants issued against Sterling Biotech directors in Rs 5,000 crore fraud case
New Delhi: A Delhi court issued open-ended non-bailable warrants against two directors of a Gujarat pharma firm in a Rs 5,000 crore money laundering probe case.
Additional Sessions Judge Siddharth Sharma, who had earlier told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to let "the shark run away while you (ED) are busy in catching the small fish", issued warrants against Sterling Biotech Ltd (SBL) directors Nitin and Chetan Sandesara in a case.
While pressing for the issuance of the warrants, special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana told the court that Chetan was likely to have left the country.
In the same case, the Supreme Court had sent a co-accused, Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan, to the two-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The trial court had on November 7 directed the ED to consider making Dhawan an approver.
"Don't let the shark run away while you are busy in catching the small fish... There must be some bank officials as well. Go after them as well," the judge had said, noting that Dhawan was the only accused arrested in the case so far.
Dhawan, arrested on October 31, had facilitated the firm's directors in the purchase of several properties and helped in misusing and diverting the credit facilities of several bank loans totaling Rs 5,000 crore, the ED had alleged.
The ED has registered the alleged bank fraud case against the firm SBL under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
The accused are also being probed by the ED for allegedly bribing senior income tax department officials as part of an earlier criminal complaint. The agency had carried out searches against Dhawan and a former Congress MLA in Delhi in August.
The CBI had recently booked 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 in connection with the alleged bank fraud case.
The CBI has alleged that the company had taken loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which has 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 ED had taken a cognizance of this FIR to file a money laundering case against them.