Sandesara scam: ED officials at Ahmed Patel’s house for third round of questioning
Ahmed Patel has earlier served as the political secretary to UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and was considered one of the most powerful persons in the party.Updated: Jul 02, 2020 12:18 IST
A team of Enforcement Directorate reached the residence of Congress leader Ahmed Patel to question him in connection with bank fraud and money laundering cases.
Patel is being questioned for his purported links with the Sandesara brothers of the Sterling Biotech group, who fled the country in 2017 after allegedly swindling several banks of several thousand crore rupees
The Sandesaras are being probed by multiple agencies including the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the income tax department as well.
This is Patel’s third round of questioning. The first round of questioning had lasted for eight hours on June 27. He was again questioned on June 30.
He was allowed questioning at home by the agency after the Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat refused to visit the ED office citing prevailing Covid-19 guidelines that discourage senior citizens from going out.
Officials said that Patel’s statement is being recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
Patel, also the Congress party treasurer, has earlier served as the political secretary to UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and was considered one of the most powerful persons in the party.
The money laundering case is connected to an alleged Rs 14,500 crore bank loan fraud that is said to have been perpetrated by the Vadodara-based pharma firm Sterling Biotech and its main promoters and directors - Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Chetankumar Jayantilal Sandesara and Deepti Sandesara - all of whom are absconding. Nitin and Chetankumar are brothers.
They are said to be hiding in Nigeria. An Interpol red corner notice request is pending against the Sandesara brothers and efforts to extradite them are on.
In June 2019, the ED attached moveable and immovable properties worth Rs 9,778 crores belonging to the Sandesaras including four oil rigs and oil fields in Nigeria and several ships apart from a Gulfstream aircraft and flat in London.
Ahmed Patel’s son Faisal Patel and son-in-law Irfan Siddiqui were questioned by ED in this case last year.