Another case of a defaulting business tycoon flying out of the clutches of India has been reported. Vijay Malya (Rs. 11,000 crore) absconded in 2016, following Nirav Modi (Rs. 6500 crore) and Mehul Choksi (Rs. 7000 crore) recently earlier this year.
Nitin Sandesara, absconding director of a Gujarat-based pharma company, Sterling Biotech which is being probed in a Rs 5,000 crore fraud case, was reported to have been arrested in Dubai last month, based on a non-bailable arrest warrant issued by an Indian court.. But according to sources in the CBI and the ED, Sandesara is not in the UAE and is likely to have fled to Nigeria, Africa.
“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.
Sandesara’s other family members, including brother Chetan Sandesara and sister-in-law Diptiben Sandesara are also believed to be taking shelter in Nigeria.
CBI had 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 in connection with the alleged bank fraud case.
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. As per 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, reported News18.
The Enforcement Directorate has also arrested few people in this case including Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan, former Andhra Bank director Anup Garg and Sterling Biotech Ltd director Rajbhhushan Dixit. Multiple prosecution complaints and charge sheets have further 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.
Background on Internal CBI Infighting
The gathering war within the CBI, between Director Alok Verma and Special Director Rakesh Asthana, came to a head on Friday after the agency said that it was probing Asthana in as many as six cases of alleged corruption. And that Asthana was maligning the Director’s image and trying to “intimidate” officials by sending a “frivolous” complaint to the Central Vigilance Commission against Verma.
The six instances against Asthana were placed on record in June as part of the appraisal process and communicated to the Directorate of Personnel and Training (DoPT) which comes under Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Reacting to this, Asthana wrote to the government with a complaint against Verma, saying that the Director had sought to impede his functioning, interfere in investigations and malign his reputation, as reported by Indian Express.
Among the six cases cited is the Rs. 5,000-crore Sterling Biotech case involving the Sandesara brothers, where there are diaries with two entries of Asthana’s name. Based on similar entries in the diaries, chargesheets had been filed against Sterling Bioetch directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former Andhra Bank director Anup Garg and some other unidentified persons. The ED has filed chargesheet against Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s son-in-law based on the same diary entries.