Court declares Sterling Biotech promoters 'fugitive economic offenders'
The Sandesara brothers, promoters of pharmaceutical company Sterling Biotech, fled the country in 2017.
September 29, 2020 / 09:20 AM IST
A Delhi court on September 28 declared the Sandesaras, named in the Sterling Biotech bank fraud case, as fugitive economic offenders (FEOs).
Sterling Biotech owners Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, Dipti Sandesara and Hitesh Patel have been declared as FEOs, according to media reports.
The court's decision will make it easier for authorities to confiscate the accused's properties in India.
The court asked the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to "reapproach the court for initiation of confiscation proceedings" under the Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEO) Act, according to a report by The Economic Times.
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"The conduct of the Respondents, unambiguously, establishes on record that they have left India to avoid criminal prosecution and they are deliberately avoiding to return back to India to face the instant prosecution. Thus, I have no hesitation to observe that the Respondents deserve to be declared fugitive economic offenders," the Judge said, as quoted by the paper.
The Sandesara brothers, promoters of the Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Sterling Biotech, fled the country in 2017. The amount of the fraud, estimated at nearly Rs 15,000 crore, is believed to be bigger than the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam.
The ED had filed a chargesheet in the case in March 2019, accusing the Sandesaras of bank fraud and money-laundering.