The Enforcement Directorate (ED), on Tuesday, stated that assets worth more than ₹ 20 crore have been attached under the anti-money laundering law in the alleged bank fraud case against Gujarat-based pharmaceutical group Sterling Biotech. ED has alleged that the bank fraud involving the group is bigger than the Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud which involved Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi.
A provisional order has been issued by the Enforcement Directorate under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) to attach five immovable properties and an equal number of bank accounts of a company named Shimnit Utsch India Private Limited and its directors with a total value of ₹ 20.77 crore.
Nitin Sandesara and Chetan Sandesara are the owner of Vadodara-based Sterling Biotech group and Dipti Sandesara (wife of Chetan Sandesara) and Hitesh Patel (a family member of the Sandesaras) have been declared fugitives under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act by a special PMLA court in Mumbai. The fugitives are stated to be based abroad and the government is trying to extradite them.
Sandesaras had diverted proceeds of crime of ₹ 55.13 crore to the accounts of Shimnit Utsch India Private Limited in the garb of share application money. “Of the said diversion, an amount of ₹ 23.50 crore was still lying with Shimnit group and its promoters/directors,” the ED said in a statement.