Indian Businessman Wanted For Rs 5300 Cr Fraud May Have Fled To Nigeria, Say Officials
Nitin Sandesara, the director of a Gujarat based pharmaceutical company Sterling Biotech Ltd, who is presently being probed in a Rs 5,300 crore fraud case has reportedly fled to Nigeria and not Dubai as was the case previously.
Nitin Sandesara may have fled to Nigeria
Media reports suggest that Sandesara, his brother, Chetan and his sister in law, Dipti along with other family members are believed to have fled to Nigeria as revealed by sources in ED and CBI. Only last month, he was reported to have been detained in the United Arab Emirates, reported The Times Of India. An officer has disclosed to the daily that reports of Sandesara being arrested in the second week of August was incorrect information and that he along with his family members fled UAE much before that.
Reportedly, India does not have an extradition treaty or a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the African nation, thereby making it difficult to bring them back to India. However, both the investigative agencies are planning to request UAE authorities asking to “provisionally arrest” the absconding family if they are seen in the country. Reportedly, the Indian authorities have also been making efforts to get Interpol to issue red corner notices against the family. While their whereabouts remains unconfirmed, it is still not known if the family travelled to Nigeria using Indian passports or some other country’s documents, reported The Times Of India.
What is the case?
It has been alleged that the company had taken loans worth Rs 5000 or more from a consortium of banks, led by Andhra Bank which has turned into Non Performing Assets (NPAs). The FIR which the ED has taken into cognisance states that dues worth Rs 5,383 crores were pending by the group of companies as on December 2016.
According to News18, CBI and the ED have booked a number of people which include the directors of Sterling Biotech Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi. Chartered accountant Hemant Hathi and former director of Andhra Bank, Anup Garg have also been booked in connection to the case. Reportedly, the ED had also arrested Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan and had also attached assets worth Rs 4700 crores of the pharma company in June 2018.
It is also being alleged that the Sandesaras had set up a large number of shell or benami companies in India as well as outside, which they used to divert loans. The firms were controlled by them through dummy directors who were employees of Sterling. Moreover, bogus sales and purchases were shown between Sterling and the shell companies to divert loans and divert turnovers, reported The Times Of India.