Sterling Biotech loan fraud case: In a major breakthrough in the Rs 5000 Crore bank fraud case, the Enforcement Directorate on Saturday arrested a former director of Andhra Bank in connection with a money laundering probe case involving a Gujarat-based pharma firm. Anup Prakash Garg was arrested by the agency late last evening. He has been sent to a two-day remand by Delhi’s Patiala House Court. This is the second arrest in the case after the agency in November last year held Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan.
The agency said it found during probe that “certain entries” in a diary seized by the Income Tax Department in 2011 showed various cash payments amounting to Rs 1.52 crore made to one “Mr. Garg, Director, Andhra Bank” between 2008-2009 by the Sandesara brothers. It said “various cash payments were made to Garg, as reflected in the said entries, on the instructions of Sandesara brothers, by withdrawing cash from the bank accounts of several benami companies of the Sandesara brothers”. The ED had alleged that Garg had infused several crores of his unaccounted cash in various companies through many Kolkata based bogus shell companies with the help of cash/cheque entry operators in Kolkata to launder the proceeds of crime obtained by him from the Sandesaras.
In October 2017, the CBI had alleged that Sterling Biotech company had taken loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which have turned into non-performing assets. The FIR has alleged that the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016. The ED had taken a cognisance of this FIR to file a money laundering case against them.
The CBI had booked Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, Garg and some unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud case. The firm and Dhawan are being probed by the Enforcement Directorate for allegedly bribing senior income tax department officials as part of an earlier criminal complaint. The agency had carried out searches against Dhawan and a former Congress MLA in Delhi in August.