India’s Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has registered a second First Information Report (FIR) against Sterling Biotech and Sandesara Group and its directors and the Director of Andhra Bank for bank loan fraud and making loss to a bank consortium of Rs.5383 crores. In the CBI’s first FIR in August, the company owners and Income Tax officers were made accused of bribing. Recently CBI’s Special Director Rakesh Asthana’s name figured in the payroll of this controversial company believed to be under the patronage of Congress heavyweight Ahmed Patel. In the first FIR, Ahmed Patel’s son-in-law Irfan’s name was mentioned for bribing accused Income Tax Commissioners (Link : https://www.pgurus.com/cbi-fir-names-son-in-law-of-ahmed-patel-irfan-of-bribing-income-tax-officials/ )
In the second FIR, CBI’s Delhi Bank Securities and Fraud Cell have named Gujarat based Sterling Biotech and it promoters Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayanitilal Sandesara and Vilas Dattatray Joshi. The FIR also named the company’s Chartered Accountant Hemant Hathi and former Andhra Bank Director Anup Garg.
The 11-page FIR details how the Gujarat based Sterling Biotech had taken huge loans from a banking consortium led by Andhra Bank. During the period 2008 – 2010, over 5000 crores were taken as a loan during the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) tenure by showing inflated turnover and by fudging accounts in conspiracy with certain bank officials. In 2010, more than Rs.5700 crores were owed to various banks by Sterling Biotech and its sister concerns like PMT Machines Ltd, Sterling Oil Resources Limited, Sterling SEZ & Infrastructure Limited.
These companies were involved in many sectors like oil, energy, port, SEZ and coal mining. This Gujarat based company has offices across India and have operations in several countries including Nigeria, UAE and USA. The detailed FIR is published at the end of this report.
In 2011, the Income Tax department conducted raids of the company after finding a tax evasion and money laundering of more than Rs.1000 crores. But the Income Tax raid was called off within hours after the political heads from Delhi put pressure on the tax sleuths. During the raid, the Income Tax officials seized a Diary 2011 from the headquarters. The diary had names of many Income Tax officers, Police officers and many politicians. The then Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana’s name was also found in the diaries for accepting Rs. 40,518 on monthly basis.
Recently the CBI Director Alok Verma objected to the promotion of Asthana as Special Director as his name was found in Diary 2011 along with the names of many other officials on the take, from the controversial Sterling Biotech Group of companies. But Ignoring the CBI Director’s objection Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) Selection Panel had recommended Asthana’s promotion. Noted lawyer Prashant Bhushan is expected to challenge this controversial promotion of Asthana in Supreme Court, alleging blatant violation of CVC Act and many verdicts of Supreme Court regarding the appointments in CBI.
The 11 page FIR is published below: