HC grants bail to Andhra Bank ex-official

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New Delhi : The Delhi High Court on Monday granted bail to a former director of the Andhra Bank arrested in a Rs 5,000 crore fraud case involving Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Sterling Biotech.

Justice Mukta Gupta allowed bail plea of Anup Prakash Garg asking him to furnish a personal bond of Rs two lakh with two surety bonds of the like amount.

The court imposed condition on Garg that he will not leave the country without permission.

The court also directed him that he will neither directly nor indirectly influence the witnesses nor interfere in further investigation.

Garg has sought the bail saying he was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on January 12, after a case was filed against him under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) and he has been in custody since then.

Both the ED and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) named Garg as an accused in criminal cases. The ED initiated a money laundering probe taking cognizance of the CBI FIR.

The CBI booked Sterling Biotech, its Directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, Chartered Accountant Hemant Hathi, Garg and some unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud.

Sterling Biotech had taken loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium of banks led by Andhra Bank which had turned into non-performing assets. Total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016, said the CBI FIR.

The ED said that during the probe, it found that "certain entries" in a diary seized by the Income Tax Department in 2011 showed cash payments amounting to Rs 1.52 crore made to one "Garg, Director, Andhra Bank" between 2008 and 2009 by the Sandesara brothers.

The agency accused Garg of infusing several crores of rupees of his unaccounted cash in various companies through Kolkata-based bogus shell companies with the help of cash or cheque entry operators in Kolkata to launder the money.