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The Enforcement Directorate on Saturday filed before a court the charge sheet against Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan in connection with a Rs 5,000 crore money laundering case. Additional Sessions Judge Sidharth Sharma, before whom the final report was filed by ED special public prosecutor Nitesh Rana, took cognisance of the document and posted the matter for hearing on January 3. Dhawan, who was arrested on November 1, was sent to judicial custody on November 15 by the court after the probe agency said he was not needed for further custodial interrogation. The ED had alleged that Dhawan had facilitated the directors of Gujarat-based pharma firm Sterling Biotech Ltd (SBL) in the purchase of several properties and helped in misuse and diversion of the credit facilities of several bank totalling Rs 5,000 crore. "Rs 1.5 crore was received by the accused from the SBL group. Prior to that, the amount of bank loans was rotated in various group companies of SBL group," the ED had claimed. The trial court had on November 14 issued non-bailable warrants against two other persons--SBL directors Nitin and Chetan Sandesara.
The agency had told the court that Sandesara might have left the country. Dhawan was arrested in an alleged bank fraud case involving the SBL under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The firm and Dhawan were also being probed by the ED for allegedly bribing senior Income Tax department officials in an earlier criminal complaint. The CBI had booked Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former director Andhra Bank Anup Garg and some unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud case. It had alleged that the company had taken loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which had turned into non-performing assets. The FIR had also alleged that the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016. The ED had taken a cognisance of this FIR to file a money laundering case against them.