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Court issues notices to Sterling Biotech owners in ₹8,100-cr bank loan fraud case

New Delhi | Updated on October 26, 2018 Published on October 26, 2018

ED wants court to declare absconding promoters as fugitive economic offenders

A Delhi court on Friday sought response from Sterling Biotech promoters following the Enforcement Directorate’s plea to declare them fugitive economic offenders in connection with a ₹8,100-crore bank fraud case.

Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora issued the notices to the owners of the Gujarat-based pharmaceutical firm— Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, Dipti Sandesara, Hitesh Patel.

Confiscation plea

The plea has been filed by the agency under various sections of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act, 2018 for declaration of the accused as offenders and for confiscation of properties which are either in their names or they have interest in the properties as beneficial owners.

ED’s special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana said the total amount involved in money laundering, which “is nothing but proceeds of crime” has been quantified at ₹8,100 crore approximately from the investigation conducted so far.

The ED told the court that the accused persons have left the country under suspicious circumstances and evaded the process of law to face criminal prosecution.

“Despite the instant developments being well in their knowledge, they have chosen not to return to the country and submit to the jurisdiction of the court. They are shifting countries to escape the clutches of the law,” it said.

The agency told the court that it is suspected that the accused at present may be residing in Nigeria, the United States or the United Arab Emirates because they have extensive business interests in these countries.

“Even though the accused 1 to 4 (Nitin, Chetan, Dipti and Hitesh) had sufficient funds and resources to avoid declaration of bank loans as frauds, they, in active connivance with each other and other persons laundered the funds for their personal advantage and use through a complex web of shell/benami companies controlled and managed by them through dummy/paper directors who were their employees and bought certain properties. It said the investigation has revealed that 249 companies have been incorporated in the country by the promoters of Sterling Biotech, out of which 200 firms were found to be ‘benami’ entities used to siphon off loan funds obtained from various banks.

7 chargesheeted

On October 23, the ED had filed a supplementary charge sheet against seven persons in the court in the money laundering case. So far, the agency has charge sheeted 191 accused, including seven individuals and 184 companies.

The accused included main promoters of Sterling Group – Sandesaras, Rajbhushan Dixit, Chartered Accountant Hemant Hathi, and middleman Gagan Dhawan.

Published on October 26, 2018
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