The Enforcement Directorate sources have reported that Hitesh Patel, one of the promoters of Sterling Biotech, has been detained in the European country of Albania. Patel, along with several others, is accused of loan fraud against a consortium of banks led by Andhra Bank to the tune of Rs 5500 crore.
Enforcement Directorate Sources: Hitesh Patel detained in Albania, a wanted fugitive in sterling Biotech Case. Red Corner Notice was issued on 11th March. He was detained by National Crime Bureau-Tirana in Albania on 20th March. pic.twitter.com/KvDBVApszp
— ANI (@ANI) March 22, 2019
A Red-Corner notice was issued against him on the 11th of March. He has been detained by Albania’s National Crime Bureau-Tirana. He is also expected to be extradited to India soon.
Hitesh Patel is the brother-in-law of Nitin Sandesara and Chetan Sandesara, the main accused in the case. All of the promoters had fled the country after the Sterling Biotech fraud exploded, to evade investigation.
In October last year, ED had filed a plea before a special court of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), seeking to declare all accused, including Patel, as fugitives under Section 4 of the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.
ED in the charge sheet filed under PMLA had charged Sandesaras and others with money laundering and siphoning of bank loans. According to the complaint, the Sandesaras and others had hatched a criminal conspiracy to cheat banks and obtain a higher amount of loan. These loans were allegedly diverted for other purposes through a web of shell companies. Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s name has also surfaced in the case.
ED has so far confiscated assets worth Rs 4700 crores belonging to the Sterling Biotech group.
The agencies have been able to nab four people in the case, including a man named Rajiv Dhawan who was alleged to have sent Rs 25 lakhs to the house of Congress leader and Gandhi family loyalist Ahmed Patel’s home. An employee of Sandesara group, Sunil Yadav too had alleged the involvement of Patel, his son, Faisal Patel, and his son-in-law, Irfan Siddiqui in the same fraud. Other people arrested include Delhi businessman Ranjeet Malik, former director of Andhra Bank Anup Garg and director of Sterling Biotech RB Dixit.