The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday issued a summon to senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel's son Faisal Patel amid the investigation for the Sterling Biotech Limited case. Faisal Patel has been summoned by the ED for questioning on Thursday. As per sources, this is the third time when Ahmed Patel's son is being questioned by the probe agency in the Sterling Biotech case. Earlier in July 2019, the Enforcement Directorate had questioned Congress leader Ahmed Patel's son-in-law Irfan Siddiqui in connection with the case.
Sources had earlier told that witnesses in the Sterling Biotech case had named Ahmed Patel, his son Faisal Patel and his son-in-law Irfan Siddique in the investigation. The ED had filed a case of money laundering against Sandesara group company Sterling Biotech in August 2017. During the same time, promoters of the company Nitin and Chetan Sandesara fled the country. Later on October 23, 2018, the agency filed a chargesheet in the Sterling Biotech case in a special PMLA (Prevention of money laundering Act) court in New Delhi. In June, sources had also said that Congress leader Ahmed Patel's house was named by the witness as the headquarters for the scam, adding that his son Faisal Patel and son-in-law Irfan Ahmed Siddique received money from Sandesara.
Ahmed Patel's son Faisal is being questioned by the ED, weeks after the probe agency attached properties worth at Rs 13000 crore belonging to the Sandesara brothers. The properties attached by ED in June included a 200 passenger capacity fixed-wing aircraft worth Rs 80 crore, five vessels worth Rs 1,206 crore and four oil rigs worth Rs 580 crore in connection with the case. ED had also revealed that total outstanding dues to banks are over Rs 13,371 crore rupees. The total fraud stands at over Rs 8000 crore (Domestic Rs 3600 crore + Foreign Rs 4400 crore).
The Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech group bank loan fraud case relates to the promoters of the group, Nitin and Chetan Sandesara, and others who availed credit worth thousands of crores sanctioned by a consortium of banks, that turned NPA. The Sandesaras, who fled the country in August 2017, had allegedly used hundreds of shell companies in India and abroad to divert and misuse loan funds. As per agency report, Hitesh Patel, an accused in the Rs 8,100-crore bank loan fraud allegedly perpetrated by Sterling Biotech group, was detained on March 22 this year in Albania on the basis of an Interpol notice issued against him by the ED. The Sandesara brothers are also stated to be in Albania and on March 19, a Delhi court had allowed the ED to send extradition requests to that country against the two. The accused are also being probed by the ED for allegedly bribing senior Income Tax department officials as part of an earlier criminal complaint.