After being questioned for almost 8 hours on Saturday, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has decided to question senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel once again on Tuesday. This comes after the leader refused to appear before the ED headquarters citing COVID-19. Ahmed Patel maintains that he is a senior citizen and it would not be prudent to expose himself during a pandemic.
The agency on the other hand has given the option of either appearing before the agency in the national capital or a team visiting his residence. This is the first time the senior Congress leader has been questioned in the Sterling Biotech case. Ahmed Patel’s son Faisal Patel and his son-in-law Irfan Siddiqui were questioned by the agency six months ago for their alleged links with Nitin and Chetan Sandesara.
As far as the questioning of Ahmed Patel goes, Republic TV has learnt that the leader was evasive in his response leaving the investigators unsatisfied. For the most part, the senior leader maintained that he doesn’t remember the details. Ahmed Patel was asked about his nature of the relationship with the Sandesara brothers.
According to Sandesra’s employee Sunil Yadav, whose statement has been recorded by ED, Ahmed Patel’s son-in-law Irfan Siddiqui stayed in a house that was purchased by Chetan Sandesara. The agency maintains Chetan and Gagan Dhawan visited Ahmed Patel’s New Delhi residence 25 to 30 times. According to Yadav, Irfan Siddiqui, and Faisal Patel were paid huge amounts of cash on several occasions. In fact, Yadav also told the ED, Irfan and Faisal knew Chetan Sandesara very well and met him frequently.
The ED had filed a case of money laundering against Sandesara group company Sterling Biotech in August 2017. During the same period, 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.
ED has already attached properties worth Rs 9,777 crore of Sandesara brothers. ED probe has revealed that total outstanding dues to banks are over Rs 13,371 crore rupees. The total fraud stands at over Rs 8000 crore. Through 249 shell companies, the bank loan was diverted abroad. Sandesaras are also accused of diverting Rs 249 crore for personal use. Incorporating over 100 companies in the British Virgin Islands, Nigeria, Barbados, and diverting the money.