Delhi's Patiala House Court on Monday declared four directors of Sterling Biotech Limited as fugitive economic offenders in a bank fraud case, thereby paving the way for confiscation of their properties.
The Sandesara brothers—Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, along with Dipti Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel—are now fugitive economic offenders, additional sessions judge Dharmender Rana stated in the order.
The order was passed on an application filed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) asserting that the accused have fled from the country and are evading the process of law to face criminal prosecution. It was further argued that they have chosen deliberately not to return to the country and face trial.
The court held that the conduct of the four accused, unambiguously establishes on record that they have left India to avoid criminal prosecution and they are deliberately avoiding returning to India to face the instant prosecution.
"I have no hesitation in observing that this court is satisfied that the petitioner has successfully pleaded and proved that the respondents herein are fugitive economic offenders," the court stated.
The ED registered a money laundering case against the Sandesara brothers and others in August 2017 after a case of alleged bank fraud of Rs5,700 crore was filed against them by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
The ED probe 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 and induce banks to sanction higher loans.
The agency has also attached properties to the tune of Rs 9,778 crore of Sterling Biotech in its investigation against the pharmaceutical company and others involving domestic and offshore branches of Indian banks in 2004-12.
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