The Enforcement Directorate Friday said it has provisionally attached assets worth over Rs 8 crore belonging the son-in-law of late Congress leader Ahmed Patel, actors Dino Morea and Sanjay Khan, and Aqeel Abdulkhalil Bachooali, better known as DJ Aqeel, in connection with its money laundering probe into the Rs 16,000 crore Sterling Biotech loan fraud case.
The ED said the attachments included eight immovable properties, three vehicles, and several bank accounts, shares and mutual funds—all of which have a cumulative value of Rs. 8.79 crore.
“These attached assets belong to Sanjay Khan (Rs 3 crore), Dino Morea (Rs 1.40 crore), Aqeel Abdulkhalil Bachooali (Rs. 1.98 crore) and Irfan Ahmed Siddiqui (R 2.41 crore). Four separate provisional attachment orders under section 5 of PMLA have been issued in this regard,” the agency said in a statement.
The ED case is based on an FIR registered by CBI against Sterling Biotech, owned by fugitive brothers Nitin and Chetan Sandesara, for cheating several public sector banks.
“Investigation by ED revealed that Sandesaras have diverted Proceeds of Crime of Rs 3 crore, Rs 1.4 crore, Rs 12.54 crore & Rs 3.51 crore to Sanjay Khan, Dino Morea, Aqeel Bachooali and Irfan Ahmed Siddiqui respectively. Earlier, ED had attached movable/immovable properties to the tune of Rs 14,513 crore vide 08 Provisional attachment orders in relation to this case. With this attachment, the total attachment in this case reached to Rs 14,521.80 crore. Total Proceeds of Crime in this case is more than Rs 16,000 Crore,” ED said in a statement.
Till now, one prosecution complaint along with four supplementary complaints have been filed in this case and four arrests have been made by ED. Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara and Hitesh Patel have been declared fugitives by a Special Court.
ED had in June last year questioned Patel in connection with the case. Patel was questioned about his links with the Sandesaras based on the statement of a witness who has claimed that he arranged parties for Patel’s son on instructions from the Sandesaras who paid for it. Sandesaras are currently hiding in Albania where they have now taken citizenship. Indian authorities are trying to get them extradited.
In 2019, ED had questioned Patel’s son Faisal and his son-in-law Irfan Siddiqui. The duo had also been questioned on the same lines and asked about their alleged links with the witness and promoters of Sterling.
The witness, Sunil Yadav who is an employee of the Sandesara Group, has told the agency that he bore “expenses of Rs 10 lakh” for a party which was attended by Faisal, “arranged” entry in a night club for him and once delivered “Rs 5 lakh” to his driver in Khan Market on the instructions of Chetan Sandesara, one of the promoters of the Vadodara-based pharma firm, the sources said.
Yadav told the Enforcement Directorate that the cash was “meant for Faisal Patel”, they added.
At that time, after the questioning, Ahmed Patel had told reporters, “Friends of Narender Modi & Amit Shah came to my house. I replied to all questions that were asked. I feel sorry for these officials that they are being used to divert attention, at a time when China has taken our land and instead of getting our land back, they are going after opposition leaders.”
Patel said after government had failed to tackle Covid, it was going after Opposition leaders. “All this is being done to hide and obfuscate their incompetence in tackling China and Covid. I believe in law and the Constitution. Whatever investigation according to law they want to carry out, they should carry out only as per the law. If I have done something wrong, they should act and law should take it own course. “