The CBI and the ED have booked Vadodara-based Sterling Biotech , its directors Nitin, Chetan and Dipti Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former Andhra Bank director Anup Garg and unidentified persons for cheating banks of Rs 5,000 crore.
Related to this case the ED arrested Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan and Garg in June. However, officials said bringing the Sandesaras back to India to face criminal trial was important as they had diverted huge amounts of money abroad.
An officer, who didn’t wish to be named, said, “There were reports that Nitin Sandesara was detained by UAE authorities in Dubai in the second week of August. It was incorrect information. He was never detained in Dubai. He and other family members probably left for Nigeria much before that.”
However, the investigation agencies are planning to send a request to UAE authorities asking them to “provisionally arrest” the Sandesaras if they are seen there. Efforts are also on get Interpol red corner notices issued against the Sandesaras. It is not known if the Sandesaras travelled to Nigeria on Indian passports or some other country’s document.
According to top sources in the two agencies, Sandesara and other family members including brother Chetan Sandesara and sister-in-law Diptiben Sandesara were believed to be hiding in Nigeria.
India doesn’t not have an extradition treaty or a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with Nigeria and bringing them back from the African country would be difficult, sources said.
It is alleged that the Sandesaras set up more than 300 shell and benami companies in India and abroad which were used to divert loans.
Officials said the modus operandi for money laundering used by the Sandesaras involved formation of shell/benami companies, manipulating balance sheets, inflating turnover and insider shares trading. These firms were controlled by the Sandesaras through dummy directors, who were or are employees of various companies of the Sterling group. Bogus sales/purchases were shown between the benami companies and the Sterling group firms to divert loans and inflate turnover to obtain further loans from banks.