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Indian biotech owner detained in Dubai over £550m fraud allegations

Published on 16/08/18 at 10:06am

Indian businessman Nitin Sandesara, the owner of the Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Sterling Biotech, has been detained in Dubai in relation to INR 50 billion (£550 million) fraud allegations.

The Gujarati businessman, along with his brother Chetan, is alleged to have wilfully defaulted on bank loans worth more than £550 million as part of an effort to defraud a consortium of investors led by Andhra Bank.

However the Vadodara-based brothers have thus far evaded justice, having fled India with their families before a case was lodged against them last year.

The Enforcement Directorate commented in a statement: “The modus operandi of money laundering involved formation of shell/benami companies, manipulating balance sheets, inflating turnovers, insider shares trading, etc."

"These shell and benami companies were controlled by the Sandesaras through dummy directors, who were/are employees of the various companies of Sterling Group."

"Bogus sale/purchase was shown between the benami companies and the Sterling group of companies in order to divert loan funds and inflate turnovers to obtain further loans from banks.”

The chartered accountant is now being held in the United Arab Emirates on a non-bailable arrest warrant issued by Indian courts. Both Sandesara brothers are also being investigated for their association with a leading Indian politician whose son-in-law, Rajbhushan Dixit, is one of those accused in the Sterling Biotech case.

Three others have been arrested in relation to the case so far, including Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan, former director of Andhra Bank Anup Garg, and the Director of Sterling Biotech Rajbhushan Dixit.

Louis Goss

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