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Innocent Admission

ED attaches properties of Rs 9,778 crore of Sterling Biotech

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New Delhi, June 26, 2019-

The Enforcement Directorate on Wednesday said it has attached properties worth Rs 9,778 crore of Sterling Biotech in its investigation into a money laundering case against the pharmaceutical company and others involving domestic and offshore branches of Indian banks in 2004-12.

A senior ED official told: “The agency has attached properties of the company in different countries. It includes an oil well in Nigeria, an aeroplane, a bungalow in London.”

The agency registered a money laundering case against the SBL group, Sandesara brothers (Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara) and others in August 2017, days after a case of alleged bank fraud of Rs 5,700 crore was filed against them by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Investigation by the ED revealed that the Sandesara brothers and others hatched a criminal conspiracy to cheat banks by manipulating figures in the balance sheets of their flagship companies to induce banks to sanction higher loans.

According to the ED officials, after obtaining loans, the accused diverted them to non-mandated purposes through a web of shell companies. Thus, the loan funds were diverted, layered and laundered by the promoters for personal purposes. The total amount of loan fraud was put at Rs 8,100 crore.

Loans to the tune of Rs 5,700 crore was disbursed by various banks from 2004 to 2012.

The ED said it had arrested four persons including a Delhi-based businessman-cum-middleman, Gagan Dhawan, Ex-Director of Andhra Bank Anup Garg, Director of SBL R.B. Dixit and Ranjeet Malik, an aide to Dhawan.

Fugitive businessman Hitesh Narender Bhai Patel was detained in Albania’s capital Tirana on March 22 on the basis of a red corner notice (RCN) issued against him by the Interpol on March 11 following requests from the Indian authorities.

He is the brother-in-law of the of Gujarat-based businessmen Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara.

The ED said the accused have incorporated more than 100 entities in various countries including the UAE, the US, the UK, British Virgin Island, Mauritius, Barbados and Nigeria.

Their main entities outside India include Richmond Overseas, Sunshine Trust Corp, SEEPCO BVI, SEEPCO Nigeria and Atlantic Blue Water Services.  (Agency)

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