A Delhi court Saturday issued open-ended non-bailable warrants (NBWs) against four directors of a Gujarat pharma firm in a Rs 8,100-crore money laundering probe case. Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora allowed the Enforcement Directorate’s plea seeking issuance of NBW against Sterling Biotech Ltd (SBL) directors Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Chetankumar Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara and Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel.
The ED has registered the alleged bank fraud case against the firm SBL under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The accused are also being probed by the ED for allegedly bribing senior income tax department officials as part of an earlier criminal complaint. The agency had on December 24 last year informed the court that it wanted to approach Interpol for issuance of Red Corner Notice (RCN) against the SBL’s directors.
The ED’s special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana had told the court that the Interpol guidelines for opening RCN against the four accused persons required open-ended NBWs from the court. An “open-ended NBW” does not carry a time limit for execution unlike non-bailable warrants. The ED had earlier told the court that the accused persons have left the country under suspicious circumstances and evaded the process of law to face criminal prosecution and that they were “shifting countries to escape the clutches of the law”.
The court had earlier issued NBW against all the four accused which could not be executed because of the “unavailability of the aforesaid concerned persons”. The agency has also attached a number of properties belonging to the accused and a charge sheet was filed against them and others.
The ED had told the court that it was suspected that the accused were in Nigeria, the United States or the United Arab Emirates because they have extensive business interests in these countries.