Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s involvement in 5000 cr bank fraud case resurfaced as ED tightens investigation

A Delhi court remanded a man named Ranjit Malik, alias Jonny, in the one-day custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED), for his involvement in 5000 crore bank fraud case for allegedly sending Rs 25 lakh cash to the official residence of a senior Congress leader, Ahmed Patel.

The ED produced Jonny before the duty magistrate, Bhavna Kalia, who granted his custody to the agency for a day, despite the ED pleading for a 15-day custody of the man saying he was required to be questioned in connection with the case and the transactions, and directed it to produce him before the court concerned.

According to the investigation carried out by the ED, Malik had sent through a courier, named Rakesh Chandra 25 lakh to 23, Mother Teresa Crescent, which is the official address of Congress leader Ahmed Patel.

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Earlier too, Sunil Yadav, employed by the Sandesara group, which is being investigated by ED for money laundering, had alleged the involvement of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, his son, Faisal Patel, and his son-in-law, Irfan Siddiqui in the same, through his written statement to the directorate.

Yadav in his written statement to the ED confessed that he had handed over cash to Faisal Patel’s chauffeur and that the cash was to be delivered to Ahmed Patel’s son “on behalf of Chetan Sandesara”. Yadav’s written statement also mentions Chetan Sandesara, one of the owners of Sterling group, involved in the money laundering, would frequently visit Ahmed Patel’s residence (23 Mother Crescent, New Delhi) and that Patel’s residence would be described as ‘Headquarters 23’ by Sandesara. Siddiqui, Yadav said, would be referred as J2 and Faisal Patel as J1 by Sandesara.

The seized materials, telephonic chats, and bank account statements contain a lot of financial transactions including cash transactions revealed connections of Sterling Biotech group in this money laundering case.

The chargesheet, filed before Additional Sessions Judge Satish Arora, has accused the company of taking loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank and diverting the same for personal use. The loans later turned into non-performing assets. As per the chargesheet, owners of Sterling Group, Nitin Sandesara, and Chetan Sandesara, had floated close to 300 shell companies to fraudulently move and layer the loan money abroad.

The ED registered a money laundering case in this instance after taking cognizance of an earlier CBI FIR. and put more than 50 foreign bank accounts and several other assets and properties situated abroad, related to the Sterling Group under the scanner,” the agency said.

The CBI had last year booked Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, Garg and some unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud case. The FIR alleged that the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016.

Though the ED has been probing the case extensively and trying to dig out as many swindlers involved in this 5000 crores bank fraud case, present development might further help to dig out many hidden crummy facts, which the directorate are carefully inspecting.

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