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Delhi court grants bail to Hemant Hathi in Rs 8,100-cr bank fraud case involving Sterling Biotech

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A Delhi court Thursday granted bail to one of the main promoters of Sterling Biotech Ltd (SBL) Hemant Hathi in a Rs 8,100-crore bank fraud case. Additional Sessions Judge Satish Kumar Arora granted bail to Hathi, a chartered accountant, on a surety of Rs 1 lakh and a personal bond of like amount.

Hathi is one of the accused in the case along with SBL promoters – Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Chetankumar Jayantilal Sandesara, DiChetan Sandesara, Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel, Rajbhushan Dixit and middleman Gagan Dhawan.

Senior advocate Vikas Pahwa, appearing for Hathi, argued that he has never been arrested during the course of investigation and the complaint has been filed without arrest.

“He has cooperated throughout. He is a chartered accountant by profession and is ready to furnish reliable sureties to the satisfaction of the court,” the counsel submitted.

The case relates to 249 companies incorporated in the country by promoters of Sterling Biotech, out of which 200 firms were found to be of ‘benami’ entities used to siphon off loan funds obtained from various banks.

The agency had said from the investigation conducted so far, the total amount involved in the money laundering, which “was nothing but proceeds of crime” in the matter, has been quantified as approximately Rs 8,100 crore.

The charge sheet, filed under the various provisions of Prevention of Money Laundering Act, accused the company of taking loans from a consortium of banks led by Andhra Bank, which had turned into non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans.

It said the accused manipulated figures in the balance sheets of their flagship companies and induced banks to sanction higher loans.

Source: Economic Times