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Sterling Biotech loan fraud: ED further attaches UK assets worth Rs 9778 crores belonging to Sandesara family

Earlier in December 2018, the ED had attached assets worth Rs 4700 crores belonging to Sterling Biotech.

In a recent development, the Enforcement Directorate has attached properties worth Rs 9778 crore belonging to brothers Chetan and Nitin Sandesara in the Sterling biotech case. As per reports, the attached properties include planes and real estate.

Moreover, an extradition process has already been initiated against the Sterling Biotech promoters and the Sandesara family. Earlier we had reported that the Enforcement Directorate had moved to a special court seeking to get the owners of Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech group declared fugitive economic offenders under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Bill 2018.

It’s worthy to note here that the ED has made similar pleas, under the new fugitive law, against Vijay Mallya and diamond jewellers Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi in separate bank loan money laundering probes.

Meanwhile, with the ED attaching assets worth Rs 4700 crores belonging to the Sterling Biotech last year on December 7, the total attached properties stands at approximately Rs 13000 crore now. ED has further revealed that total outstanding dues to banks are over Rs 13,371 crore rupees.

The ED has been probing the alleged Rs 8,100-crore bank loan fraud case against the promoters of the Gujarat-based group. In August 2017, the ED filed a case of money laundering against Sterling Biotech company, the same month in which the promoters of the group, Nitin and Chetan Sandesara, fled the country.

Later on October 23, 2018, the agency filed a charge sheet in the Sterling Biotech case in a special PMLA (Prevention of money laundering Act) court in New Delhi.

The Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech group bank loan fraud case relates to the promoters of the group, Nitin and Chetan Sandesara, and others who availed credit worth thousands of crores sanctioned by a consortium of banks, that turned NPA.

The Sandesaras, who fled the country in August 2017, had allegedly used hundreds of shell companies in India and abroad to divert and misuse loan funds.

Nitin Sandesara was apprehended by the Dubai police in August last year. He is reportedly known as a close aide of Congress leader Ahmed Patel.

After the ED had decided to tighten the noose on the Sandesara family in their alleged involvement in the massive bank fraud, names of Congress leader Ahmed Patel, his son, Faisal Patel, and his son-in-law, Irfan Siddiqui, had surfaced for their alleged involvement in the same.

Meanwhile, all the four promoters of Sterling group namely Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, Dipti Sandesara and Hitesh Patel had fled the country fearing a criminal probe in this multi-crore fraud case. “The Directorate has sought confiscation of their properties in India and abroad,” said the agency.

Recently, one of the four promoters, Hitesh Patel, was detained in the European country of Albania. 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.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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