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ED a step closer to securing fugitive economic offender tag on Sandesaras



New Delhi: An Enforcement Directorate plea seeking fugitive economic offender tag on the Sandesara brothers and two other accused in the Rs 14,500-cr Sterling Biotech money laundering case will finally be heard by a lower court after the Supreme Court clarified that it has not stayed proceedings against the Sandesaras.

The proceedings were hanging fire for nearly a year due to “lack of clarity” over a SC order passed last July.

A court of an additional district and sessions judge in Delhi has now posted the matter for final arguments by ED and the accused to decide whether to declare Sterling Biotech MD Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, his brother Chetan Sandesara, wife Dipti Sandesara, and brother-in-law Hitesh Narendra Bhai Patel as fugitive economic offenders (FEOs).

It will be taken up immediately after the courts resume normal functioning.

As per the statute, a fugitive economic offender is an individual against whom an arrest warrant has been issued in respect of a scheduled offence and who has fled India so as to avoid criminal prosecution, or being abroad, refuses to return to India to face criminal prosecution.

Once a person is declared an FEO, government agencies can confiscate their properties in India and abroad to recover the losses.

ED has already attached Indian and overseas assets worth Rs 9,778 crore of the Vadodara-based pharmaceutical company and its promoters in connection with the alleged bank fraud case. Once it gets FEO tag on Sandesaras, the agency can confiscate these properties.

ED has questioned senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel thrice in the past one week over his alleged involvement in the bank scam, which is considered bigger than the `11,400-crore Punjab National Bank fraud allegedly committed by Nirav Modi.


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