The Enforcement Directorate on Friday attached assets of actors Dino Morea and Sanjay Khan, DJ Aqeel, and son-in-law of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel in a money laundering case involving Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Sterling Biotech group.
The official Twitter account of the Enforcement Directorate informed about the development. It said properties worth Rs 8.79 crores has been attached under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act(PMLA) in the Sandesara Group case. So far, a total attachment of Rs 14,521.80 crores has been done in the case.
Enforcement Directorate has provisionally attached movable & immovable properties worth Rs. 8.79 Crore under PMLA in Sandesara Group case. With this attachment, the total attachment reached to Rs 14,521.80 Crore. pic.twitter.com/8SEPTxCRZf— ED (@dir_ed) July 2, 2021
Divulging the details of the assets it has seized, the central agency said the value of attachment of properties for Khan is Rs 3 crores, for Dino, it is Rs 1.4 crores, for DJ Aqeel, it is Rs 1.98 crores and for Irfan Ahmed Siddiqui, the son-in-law of Ahmed Patel, it is Rs 2.41 crores.
The agency further said that Nitin Sandesara and Chetan Sandesara, absconding promoters of the Sterling Biotech group, had “diverted” proceeds of crime to the four people. It also said that brothers Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, Chetan’s wife Dipti Sandesara and Hitesh Patel have been declared fugitive economic offenders by a special court.
The money-laundering case relates to the alleged Rs 14,500 crore bank loan fraud, believed to have been carried out by Sterling Biotech and its main promoters and its directors. According to the probe, Sterling Biotech Limited (SBL) had obtained a loan worth over Rs 9000 crores from foreign branches of Indian banks. The loans were taken in both Indian and foreign currencies from a consortium of banks namely UCO Bank, Allahabad Bank, Andhra Bank, State Bank of India, and Bank of India.
The promoters of SBL had allegedly then diverted the money raised from loans to non-mandated purposes, carefully layered and laundered through a number of domestic and offshore entities. The Sandesaras had not only siphoned off the funds to finance their Nigerian oil business but also for personal expenses.
Earlier, ED had attached several offshore properties belonging to the promoters of SBL totalling over 9000 crores. The properties include four oil rigs and an oil field in Nigeria named OML 143, 4 ships namely Tulja Bhawani, Vrinda, Bhavya and Brahmani, that were registered in Panama under Atlantic Blue Water Services, a 200 Gulfstream aircraft registered in the USA, and residential property in London. Before that, ED had attached assets worth Rs 4700 crores belonging to the Sterling Biotech in December 2018, bringing the the total attached properties to approximately Rs 13000 crore, close to the total outstanding dues to banks which is over Rs 13,371 crore rupees.
Late Congress leader Ahmed Patel was also questioned by ED in relation to the case, as the ED had found Sterling group’s links with Ahmed Patel. Several persons questioned by ED in relation to the case had revealed the involvement of Ahmed Patel, his son, Faisal Patel, and his son-in-law, Irfan Siddiqui in the scam.
Yami Gautam summoned by ED over forex violations of Rs 1.5 crores
In a separate case, actor Yami Gautam was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate over alleged forex violations of over Rs 1.5 crores. The agency had reportedly found foreign exchange transactions to the tune of ₹ 1.5 crores in her bank account.
According to the reports, Ms Gautam was summoned earlier too, but she could not appear before the agency. The investigation is being carried out under the civil proceedings of the Foreign Exchange Management Act, said sources.