Congress alleges oil PSUs doing business with economic offenders
The Congress on Monday alleged that the BJP Government was purchasing goods and services from fugitives Sandesara Group promoters Nigerian firm. Sandesara brothers, the promoters of Sandesara Group, and Sterling Biotechare fugitives from 2017 after the banks and CBI charged them for bank frauds and series of cases. According to Congress, crude oil worth Rs.5701.83 crore was imported by India’s public sector oil companies from the Nigerian firms owned by the fugitive Sandesara Groups.
It is interesting to note that late Congress leader Ahmed Patel was the protector of this Gujarat-based Sandesara Group and his son and son-in-law are also facing money laundering charges by Enforcement Directorate (ED) for huge money transactions with Sandesara Group promoters.
Sandesara Diaries caught by Income Tax has revealed that many top bureaucrats and police officers from Gujarat were in the regular payrolls of this tainted Group. Top cop Rakesh Asthana also faced allegations for his relations with this Group owned by Chetan and Nitin Sandesara.
Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh, at a press conference, alleged that the BJP government was first aiding fugitives to escape from the country and then was buying goods from their companies. He cited the example of the Sandesara brothers of Sterling Biotech. There were no comments from the Government over the charges. Vallabh alleged that those declared ‘fugitive economic offenders’, after they duped banks, ran away with public money, and were relaxing in foreign locations, are now selling goods and services from these locations to the Government.
He alleged that crude oil worth Rs.5,701.83 crore was purchased by oil PSUs from Sandesara group company even after a special court in September 2020 declared Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, his wife Dipti, and one Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel as ‘fugitive economic offenders’ on the Enforcement Directorate’s (ED) request. ED has already attached Rs.9800 crores worth of assets of the fugitive family members in India and abroad.
Vallabh said the promoters of Baroda-based Sterling Biotech fled India just before the CBI and the ED registered cases against them in 2017 for siphoning off loans from banks worth Rs.15,000 crore. The Congress leader alleged that from January 1, 2018, to May 31, 2020, shipments worth Rs.5,701.83 crore of OKWUIBOME Crude Oil were received from Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company Ltd (SEEPCO), Nigeria by Government’s Oil companies. SEEPCO has been producing OKWUIBOME Crude Oil And PSUs like Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL) have been actively purchasing oil from (SEEPCO) Nigeria, he said.
All of these companies were formed between November 2017 and April 2018, and none of them have been investigated by central agencies like the ED and the CBI, he said. “These points clearly indicate that the Central government, PSBs, and central agencies like the CBI and the ED have not only been going soft on the Sandesara brothers but also helping them escape the law and contributing to their wealth and fortunes by repeatedly indulging in business with them,” he alleged.
“The Congress party asks from the Modi government why there have been no attempts to extradite the Sandesara brothers? Do banks and central agencies treat other loan defaulters and economic offenders in the same manner,” Vallabh asked. He also questioned whether the Modi government even considers the Sandesara brothers as fugitive economic offenders, and why oil PSUs were repeatedly engaging in business with the economic offenders?
 ED attaches overseas assets worth Rs 9,800 cr of Ahmed Patel linked Sterling Biotech – Sandesara Group – Jun 26, 2019, PGurus.com
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