While hearing a money-laundering case involving Sterling Group, a city court told the Enforcement Directorate (ED) not to let the “shark run free” while catching the “small fish”.
The court was referring to the fact that the ED is yet to arrest Sterling Group’s directors, who allegedly diverted bank loans to the tune of Rs 5,363 crore.
Delhi businessman Gagan Dhawan, who was arrested for allegedly facilitating the Sterling Group directors’ diversion of the loan amount, was produced in court on expiry of his remand on Tuesday. The court granted the ED two more days’ custody.
While the ED informed the court that Rs 1.5 crore was received by the accused from Sterling Group, the court told the ED to consider making him an approver.
“Why aren’t you catching them (directors)… I believe that he (Dhawan) can be your witness. Unko pakdo jo bhaag gaye hain and bank officials could also be involved… You can’t catch the small fish and let the shark run free,” said Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma.
When the court asked the ED about the need for further custody, the ED said the accused was “not cooperating”. At this, the court said, “No one should be forced and he has a right to remain silent… In the US, people make (one) aware that one has a right to remain silent. I have never seen Delhi Police warning anyone.”
ED’s special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana said they tell the accused about this right. He also said that the proceedings to issue non-bailable warrants against two of the main accused — Nitin and Chetan Sandesara, directors of Sterling Group —were in process.
The ED made the arrest after the CBI booked Sterling in connection with a bank fraud case. The CBI alleged that the company had taken loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which have turned into non-performing assets. The FIR alleged that the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016.