The Enforcement Directorate on Tuesday questioned senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel for the second time in connection with a money laundering case, involving Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Sterling Biotech, PTI reported. The company has allegedly defaulted on loans worth Rs 5,300 crore.

A three-member team from the investigating agency and other officials questioned Patel at his residence in Delhi’s Lutyens’ area. He was first interrogated by the Enforcement Directorate on June 27.

Patel had earlier skipped two summons by the investigating agency, citing the government’s advice to senior citizens to stay indoors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Congress leader was accused of allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 25 lakh in cash from a middleman for Delhi-based entrepreneur Gagan Dhawan, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in 2017 in connection with the Sterling Biotech case. Patel had refuted the corruption allegations against him.

On October 28, 2018, the Central Bureau of Investigation filed a case against Sterling Biotech for defaulting on loans worth Rs 5,383 crore. The CBI alleged that the company secured the loans from a consortium of banks led by the Andhra Bank.

The CBI filed cases against Sterling Biotech’s directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former director of Andhra Bank Anup Garg and other unidentified people.

The Enforcement Directorate also registered a money laundering case against the company and its promoters Nitin and Chetan Sandesara in October, and seized assets worth Rs 4,701 crore. The probe agency said promoters siphoned off most of the loans the company defaulted on.