The Enforcement Directorate on Friday said that it has attached assets worth Rs 8.79 crore of actors Dino Morea and Sanjay Khan, Congress leader Ahmed Patel’s son-in-law Irfan Ahmed Siddiqui and DJ Aqeel Abdulkhalil Bachooali in connection with a money laundering case.
The case is connected to the Rs 14,500 crore bank fraud allegedly done by Gujarat-based pharmaceutical firm Sterling Biotech and its main directors and promoters Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Deepti Sandesara and Chetankumar Jayantilal Sandesara.
The Enforcement Directorate said that it started an investigation under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002, on the basis of FIRs filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation.
Its investigation revealed that the Sandesara brothers and their relatives had diverted money obtained through criminal activity, or proceeds of crime, to Morea and others, the Enforcement Directorate said. Bachooali allegedly received Rs 12.54 crore from the Sandesaras, Siddiqui got 3.51 crore, Khan Rs 3 crore and Morea 1.4 crore.
Assets worth Rs 3 crore of Khan were attached, followed by Rs 2.41 crore of Siddiqui, Rs 1.98 crore of Bachooali, and Rs 1.4 crore of Morea, the investigating agency said.
“Earlier, ED had attached movable/immovable properties to the tune of Rs 14,513 crore vide 08 provisional attachment orders in relation to this case,” the statement said. “With this attachment, the total attachment in this case reached to Rs 14,521.8 crore. Total proceeds of crime in this case is more than Rs 16,000 crore.”
Sterling Biotech case
According to the Enforcement Directorate, the Vadodara-based business family had allegedly manipulated figures in the balance sheets of their flagship companies and induced banks to sanction higher loans.
Sterling Biotech’s main directors and promoters Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Deepti Sandesara and Chetankumar Jayantilal Sandesara, and the Sandesara’s brother-in-law Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel were declared fugitive economic offenders in September.
A fugitive economic offender is a person against whom an arrest warrant has been issued and who has left India to avoid criminal prosecution or one who refuses to return to the country to face criminal prosecution.
Earlier investigation in the case had revealed that the directors of the group laundered the proceeds of crime through various layers and routed the funds outside India. They incorporated more than 100 entities in various countries such as the United States, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, British Virgin Islands, Mauritius, Barbados and Nigeria. “Their main entities outside India include Richmond Overseas, Sunshine Trust Corporation, SEEPCO BVI, SEEPCO Nigeria, Atlantic Blue Water Services Private Limited and few others,” the central agency had said in September.
It had also added that the investigation revealed that the Sandesaras were engaged in oil business in Nigeria and have numerous assets there. While the three Sandesaras were earlier reported to be in Nigeria, Patel was said to be in the US.
So far, the ED has arrested four people in the fraud case, including Delhi-based businessman and alleged middleman Gagan Dhawan, company director Rajbhushan Dixit, former director of Andhra Bank Anup Garg and a man identified as Ranjeet Malik.
Congress leader Ahmed Patel, who died in November, was questioned three times for his alleged involvement in the case.