The Enforcement Directorate (ED) stepped things up a notch on Friday when it attached properties of Dino Morea, Sanjay Khan, DJ Aqeel, and son-in-law of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel in the Sterling Biotech bank fraud case. The ED took to the official Twitter handle to inform about the latest development in the case.
“Enforcement Directorate has provisionally attached movable & immovable properties worth Rs. 8.79 Crore under PMLA in Sandesara Group case. With this attachment, the total attachment reached to Rs 14,521.80 Crore,” it tweeted.
Of this, reportedly, the value of attachment of assets for Sanjay Khan is Rs 3 crore, and for Dino Morea, it is Rs 1.4 crore. For Aqeel Abdulkhalil Bachooali — popularly known as DJ Aqeel — it is Rs 1.98 crore, and for Irfan Ahmed Siddiqui, who is late Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s son-in-law, it is Rs 2.41 crore.
Enforcement Directorate has provisionally attached movable & immovable properties worth Rs. 8.79 Crore under PMLA in Sandesara Group case. With this attachment, the total attachment reached to Rs 14,521.80 Crore. pic.twitter.com/8SEPTxCRZf
— ED (@dir_ed) July 2, 2021
The money laundering case allegedly involves a sum of Rs 14,500 crore in bank-loan frauds. According to the ED, the amount is even greater than the fraud committed by fugitive businessman Nirav Modi, who was the chief beneficiary of the Rs 11,400 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.
As reported previously by TFI, Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Kumar Sandesara, Hitesh Kumar Patel and Dipti Sandesara are prime accused in the case and have been declared fugitive economic offenders by a special court. The ED has already attached the overseas assets of the Sandesara’s which include four oil rigs in Nigeria, two ships registered in Panama, a Gulfstream luxury aircraft registered in the USA, and a residential flat in London.
In August 2017, ED had first filed a case of money laundering under PMLA against Sterling Biotech Company. Thereafter, the promoters of the group, Nitin and Chetan Sandesara fled the country. Later, in October 2018, the agency filed a charge sheet in the Sterling Biotech case in a special PMLA court in New Delhi.
Investigations by the ED revealed that the Sandesara brothers and others hatched a criminal conspiracy to cheat banks by manipulating figures in the balance sheets of their flagship companies to induce banks to sanction higher loans.
The Gujarat-based firm has also been accused of giving massive amounts in bribes to IAS, IPS, and Income tax officers. They had close associations with the late Ahmed Patel and, his son and son-in-law, Faisal Patel and Irfan Siddiqui. Witnesses have vouched for Ahmed’s involvement with the Sandesara’s. According to the witness, Ahmed Patel’s official residence, 23, Mother Teresa Crescent was termed as “the headquarters”.
Lately, the ED has been working in an overdrive mode to recover the assets of the corrupt businessmen who have fleeced the country. Recently, the ED had recovered assets worth Rs 18,170 crore of Vijay Mallya, Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi attached which amounts to 80 percent of the losses recovered.