HC seeks ED's reply on ex-Andhra Bank officer's bail plea
The Delhi High Court today sought the response of the Enforcement Directorate on a bail plea filed by former Andhra Pradesh Bank Director, who was arrested in connection with a money laundering probe in an alleged Rs 5,000-crore bank fraud case.

Justice A K Pathak issued notice to the agency on the plea of Anup Prakash Garg who sought bail saying he was arrested by the ED on January 12 in connection with the case involving a Gujarat-based pharma firm and has been in custody since then.

Senior advocate Mohit Mathur, appearing for Garg, sought the relief saying the official has been in custody for four months and the charge sheet has already been filed in the case so he was not required for further probe.

Advocate Nitesh Rana, respresenting the ED, opposed the bail plea saying Garg had granted a loan of nearly Rs 250 crore to the accused firm Sterling Biotech and accepted Rs 1.52 crore illegal gratification during his tenure.

The court listed the matter for July 2 for further hearing.

Garg was the second person to be arrested in the case after the agency had in November last year held Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan.

Besides Dhawan and Garg, the ED has also arrested Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, one of the directors of the pharma firm. All three were arrested under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The ED had lodged the money laundering case after taking cognisance of an FIR registered by the CBI.

The CBI had booked Garg, firm Sterling Biotech, its directors Dixit, Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi and some unidentified persons in connection with the case.

It had alleged that the company took loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank, which turned into non-performing assets. The FIR had also alleged that the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016.

It had alleged that "various cash payments were made to Garg, as reflected in the entries, on the instructions of the Sandesara brothers, by withdrawing cash from the bank accounts of several benami companies owned by them".