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Absconding Sterling Biotech promoters move Delhi court against NBWs

twitter-logo PTI        Last Updated: February 14, 2019  | 20:22 IST

(Eds: Adding details) New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) Four absconding Sterling Biotech Ltd (SBL) promoters moved a Delhi court on Thursday seeking cancellation of open-ended Non-Bailable Warrants issued against them in the Rs 8,100 crore bank fraud case, saying the NBWs were "illegal", "arbitrary" and "malicious". Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora issued notice to the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and directed them -- Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Chetankumar Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara and Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel -- to furnish their address to the agency within 15 days. The court put up the matter for hearing on April 2. The ED, through Special Public Prosecutor Nitesh Rana, opposed their plea saying extradition proceedings from Italy and Nigeria are being carried out against the Sandesaras as they have been absconding and an open ended NBW was obtained from the court for this purpose. Senior advocate Vikas Singh, appearing for the promoters, said that the very fact they have adopted and taken recourse of all the legal remedies guaranteed to them under law demolished the entire cause of action for NBWs. Therefore, he said, NBWs should be cancelled, or alternatively stayed till the next hearing. "It (issuance of NBWs) was illegal being arbitrary, malicious and non-est (bad) in law," the plea said while seeking directions to the ED to supply the entire material and documents of the case to them. The promoters have also sought permission to be represented in the court through their counsel. The application said that the promoters reserved their right to file a detailed reply along with the objections in the proceedings, which was impossible in the absence of any material/documents filed by the prosecuting agency. "No notice was ever served to the applicants (Sandesaras) and they were appearing before the court in pursuant to the electronic and print media reports," it said. The court had on January 21 allowed the agency to go ahead with the extradition process initiated against four SBL promoters including Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel. Another SBL promoter Hemant Hathi, who was earlier chargesheeted by the ED, appeared in the court in pursuance to the summons and moved a bail application. There was no NBW against Hemant. The court granted him bail on furnishing of a personal bond of Rs 1 lakh and a surety of the like amount. Hathi is one of the accused in the case along with other promoters -- Sandesaras, Patel, Rajbhushan Dixit and middleman Gagan Dhawan. So far, the agency has chargesheeted over 190 accused, including seven individuals and over 180 companies. The court had on January 5 issued open-ended NBWs against the four accused. An "open-ended NBW" does not carry a time limit for execution unlike non-bailable warrants. The agency had on December 24 last year informed the court that it wanted to approach Interpol for issuance of Red Corner Notice (RCN) against the SBL's directors and the Interpol guidelines for opening RCN against the four accused persons required open-ended NBWs from the court. The ED has registered the alleged bank fraud case against the firm SBL under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA). The accused are also being probed by the ED for allegedly bribing senior income tax department officials as part of an earlier criminal complaint. The agency has also attached a number of properties belonging to the accused and a charge sheet was filed against them and others. PTI URD PKS SA

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