The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has decided to seek Interpol arrest warrants and make extradition requests against the Sandesara family, promoters of a Gujarat-based pharmaceutical firm accused in a Rs 80 billion bank fraud case, the agency said on Thursday.
The ED added it has obtained a confirmation, from the Adjudicating Authority of the PMLA, on its attachment of Rs 47.1 billion worth of assets in this case.
The central probe agency had attached various movable and immovable assets of the group and its directors Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, Dipti Sandesara and others in May this year under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).
With the approval of the Authority on this order, the agency will now start the process to take possession of these properties, till the case is finally decided by a court.
These assets are located in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Delhi.
"ED is also in the process to issue red corner notices against the key directors of the company--Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, Dipti Sandesara and Hitesh Patel. Extradition requests shall be sent shortly to bring back the accused to India to face the trial proceedings," the agency said in a statement.
The red notices are issued by the Interpol (international police) on request by a member country to prohibit the movement and subsequent handing over of an accused from across the globe.
The ED, few months back, had also moved a special court in Delhi seeking notification of the four accused under the newly enacted Fugitive Economic Offenders Act that empowers it to immediately confiscate all assets of the accused.
"All the four accused are promoters of Sterling Biotech group and have fled the country to avoid criminal investigation," it said.
The agency, which has filed five charge sheets and has arrested four people in this case till now, had earlier said it was investigating "public officials" for suspected bribery of about Rs 1.4 billion in connection with this alleged bank loan fraud.
The ED suspects that these officials were linked to some top politicians and that angle is under probe in the case.
It has been alleged by the ED in its charge sheet that the pharmaceutical group and its promoters laundered funds obtained through bank loans by "incorporating" shell or dummy companies, conducting circular transactions to artificially inflate turnover of flagship companies, claiming higher depreciations on non-existing machinery, artificial share trading with the use of shell companies and layering and laundering of proceeds of crime within India and abroad through the web of shell companies.
While the three Sandesaras are reported to be based in Nigeria, Patel is said to be in the US.