Nitin Sandesara, the absconding director of a Gujarat-based pharma company, is likely to have fled to Nigeria, according to sources in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The pharma company is being probed in a Rs 5,000-crore fraud case and Nitin Sandesara was reported to have been arrested in Dubai last month.
“There were reports that Nitin Sandesara was detained by UAE authorities in Dubai in the second week of August. The information was incorrect. He was never detained in Dubai. He and other family members probably left for Nigeria much before that,” an official was quoted as saying by Times of India.
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The CBI has booked Vadodara-based Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former director Andhra Bank Anup Garg and some unidentified persons for duping banks to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore.
Sandesara’s other family members, including brother Chetan Sandesara and sister-in-law Diptiben Sandesara, are also believed to be hiding in Nigeria. According to the Times of India report, efforts are being made to get Interpol red notices issued against the Sandesaras. The investigating agencies are planning to send a request to authorities in the UAE to “provisionally arrest” them if they are seen there.
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It is alleged that the company took loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which had turned into non-performing assets. According to the FIR, the total pending dues of the group of companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016. The ED has taken the FIR into cognisance.
Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan, former Andhra Bank director Anup Garg and Sterling Biotech Ltd director Rajbhhushan Dixit have also been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in this case.
Multiple prosecution complaints or charge sheets have also been filed by it before a special court. It had also attached assets worth over Rs 4,700 crore of the pharmaceutical firm in June this year.