ED Attaches Sterling Biotech’s Properties Worth Rs. 4,700 Crore

In a major crackdown, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has attached movable and immovable properties worth more than ₹4,700 crore in the Vadodara-based Sterling Biotech group bank loan fraud case. The main accused in the case have fled the country.

The CBI has booked Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, Chartered Accountant Hemant Hathi, Anup Prakash Garg and some unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud.

The attached assets include immovable properties of about 4,000 acres, plant machinery, around 200 bank accounts of various companies and accounts of promoters, shares worth ₹6.67 crore and various high-end luxury cars.

Sterling Biotech had taken loans of over Rs. 5,000 crore from a consortium of banks led by Andhra Bank which had turned into non-performing assets. Total pending dues of the group companies were Rs. 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016, said the CBI FIR.

It is alleged that several companies promoted by the Sandesara brothers had, on the basis of false and fabricated documents, fraudulently obtained credit facilities of about ₹5,383 crore from various banks, which subsequently turned non-performing assets (NPA). The loans were sanctioned by a consortium of banks led by Andhra Bank and comprising UCO Bank, State Bank of India, Allahabad Bank and the Bank of India.

The ED said that during the probe, it found that “certain entries” in a diary seized by the Income Tax Department in 2011 showed cash payments amounting to Rs. 1.52 crore made to one “Garg, Director, Andhra Bank” between 2008 and 2009 by the Sandesara brothers.

In this case, the ED has so far arrested three persons, including Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan, Anup Garg Ex-Director of the Andhra Bank (Chartered Accountant) and Rajbhushan Dixit, director of Sterling Biotech. The ED has also filed multiple charge-sheets.

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