India Abroad

Accused In Rs 5,300 Crore Fraud, Nitin Sandesara May Have Fled From UAE To Nigeria

DIVYIA ASTHANA | 0
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| September 24 , 2018 , 11:34 IST

Nitin Sandesara, owner of Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech group and a key accused in a Rs 5,300 crore bank loan fraud was confirmed to be in the UAE in August, however, reports on Monday have indicated that he may have fled from UAE to Nigeria.

India currently does not have an extradition treaty with Nigeria, which it does have with the UAE, and recently secured the extradition of Christian Michel, the British middleman in the AgustaWestland chopper scandal from UAE's Dubai.

Nitin Sandesara and his brother Chetan Sandesara, both directors in the Vadodara-based Sterling Biotech pharmaceutical firm are key accused in the case which alleges that the firm took loans from a consortium led by Andhra Bank worth Rs 5,383 crore which later turned into non-performing assets.

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Both of the Sandesara brothers have been absconding since the case was registered against them by the CBI in October 2017. A case of money laundering is also being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against the company and the Sandesaras.

On August 15, Indian agencies came to know that Nitin Sandesara had been detained by the UAE authorities in an unrelated case and the CBI and ED wrote to the UAE appraising it of the cases against him and requested his provisional arrest.

An official involved with the investigation quoted by The Indian Express on Monday said that Nitin Sandesara was no longer in the UAE, and while they don't know exactly where he is Nitin has investments in the UK and Nigeria.

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“What we have learnt is that he had been detained by authorities in the UAE for an offence related to local issues. The detention was not related to our case. He is not in the UAE anymore. We do not exactly know where he is. He has investments and companies from the United Kingdom to Nigeria. He could be anywhere,” an official involved with the investigation said.

The CBI in its original FIR said, “In order to avail maximum loan, the directors of M/S SBL (Sterling Biotech Ltd) connived with the in-house CA and in active criminal conspiracy with others falsified the material records of the company inter alia related to production, turnover and investments in capital assets using various India-based entities and entities situated abroad. On the basis of these false and fabricated documents, manipulated balance sheets were prepared to induce the banks to sanction higher amounts of loans which were later diverted for personal purposes.”