Reports have emerged that Nitin Sandesara, owner of Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech and accused of Rs. 5,000 crore bank fraud, has fled to Nigeria along with his family.
Sandesara is wanted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in the same.
The Times of India quoted an officer who said the information regarding Sandesara being detained by UAE authorities in Dubai in the second week of August was incorrect and that there is a probability that he, along with other family members, has fled to Nigeria.
What is a drawback for India is that it does not have an extradition treaty or a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the African country, therefore, bringing them back would be a difficult task.
The investigation agencies are also mulling upon sending request to UAE authorities to “provisionally arrest” Sandesara and his family members if they are seen there. Efforts are also on get Interpol red corner notices issued against the Sandesaras.
Sterling Biotech directors Nitin, Chetan and Dipti Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former Andhra Bank director Anup Garg and unidentified persons have been booked by the CBI and the ED for cheating banks of Rs 5,000 crore.
Investigation found that the modus operandi used for money laundering by the Sandesaras was the formation of shell/benami companies. Dummy directors were used by Sandesaras to control these companies, and these dummy directors were employees of various companies of the Sterling Group. Bogus sales were shown between these shell companies and the Sterling group companies to divert loans and inflate turnover to get more loans from banks.
This is not the first time that a defaulter has fled the country. We have many others like liquor baron Vijay Mallya and diamond czar Nirav Modi who have owe Rs. 9,000 crore and Rs. 22,000 crore respectively to banks.