The Enforcement Directorate today conducted multiple searches in Delhi in connection with a Rs 5,000 crore money laundering probe against the directors and associates of Gujarat-based pharma firm Sterling Biotech. Official sources said the raiding teams seized documents and computer hardware like hard drives and CDs from the associates of the owners of the firm. Seven residential and business premises are being covered under the action, they said. The Enforcement Directorate had registered a case against the firm and the Sandesara family under sections of the Prevention of the Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The case is based on a CBI FIR against the same entities.
The CBI had booked Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi as well as chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former Andhra Bank director Anup Garg and other unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud case. The CBI alleged that the company took loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which have turned into non-performing assets. According to the FIR, the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016. The ED took cognisance of this FIR to file a money laundering case against them. The central probe agency also arrested Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan in its case on October 31.