New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Friday filed an application under the Fugitive Economic Offenders Act in a special court in New Delhi against Sterling group promoters, Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, Dipti Sandesara and Hitesh Patel.

“While Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara and Dipti Sandesara are gathered to be in Nigeria, Hitesh Patel is in the US. All the four accused are promoters of Sterling group and have reportedly fled the country to avoid criminal investigation and prosecution. The ED has sought for declaring them as fugitives and confiscation of their properties in India and abroad," the agency said in a statement on Friday.

Prior to action under the act, the agency had filed a prosecution complaint against the accused on Tuesday in a money laundering case involving bank fraud of 8,100 crores.

“Investigation revealed that the promoters of the Sterling group laundered the proceeds of crime through various layers and routed the funds outside India. They incorporated more than 100 entities abroad in various countries, including the UAE, US, UK, BVI, Mauritius, Barbados, and Nigeria," it said.

The case assumes significance after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Monday stated that Manoj Prasad, middleman in the Moin Qureshi case, had met Chetan Sandesara last year in London. According to the FIR filed by the CBI against the bureau’s special director Rakesh Asthana, Prasad had also allegedly taken a 3 crore bribe from key eyewitness Sathish Sana in the Moin Qureshi case and passed it on to Asthana.

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