Modi govt purchased crude oil worth Rs 5701 crore from firm owned by fugitive Sandesara brothers: Congress
The Sandesara brothers fled India just before the CBI and ED registered cases against them in 2017 for allegedly siphoning off loans worth Rs 15,000 crore from government banks
The Modi government, which claims to run a corruption-free government, has bought crude oil worth Rs 5701 crore from the fugitive Sandesara brothers’ company - Sterling Oil Exploration and Energy Production Company Ltd (SEEPCO) - the Congress said on Monday.
The Sandesara brothers fled India just before the CBI and ED registered cases against them in 2017 for allegedly siphoning off loans worth Rs 15,000 crore from government banks.
In a sensational revelation, addressing a press conference, Congress spokesman Gourav Vallabh alleged that the Modi government did not only ignore illegal business dealings of the company but asked oil PSUs to purchase crude oil from the company owned by the Sandesara brothers.
“From January 1, 2018, to May 31, 2020, shipments worth Rs 5701.83 crore of OKWUIBOME crude oil were received from a Sterling Biotech group entity SEEPCO,” said the Congress spokesman.
As per the company’s profile, SEEPCO is an Indian company, part of the Sandesara Group that ventured into Nigeria's oil and gas market and is successfully producing crude oil in the Niger Delta.
Saying that the PSUs like Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (HPCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), and Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL) have been actively purchasing oil from SEEPCO, Gourav Vallabha alleged, “Even after the declaration of the Sandesaras (company’s promoters) as fugitive economic offenders in September 2020, there seems to be continuous purchase of OKWUIBOME crude oil by our oil PSUs”.
Referring to a report published by The India Express, Gourav Vallabh said, "Recent Pandora Papers have revealed that the Sandesara brothers formed 6 offshore firms to increase oil trade to India".
“All of these companies were formed between November 2017 and April 2018 and none of them have been investigated by central agencies like the ED and CBI,” he said.
Following ED’s request, a special court, in September 2020 declared Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara, his wife Dipti, and one Hiteshkumar Narendrabhai Patel as fugitive economic offenders.
Asking why there have been no attempts to extradite the Sandesara brothers, Congress raised certain questions:
Do banks and central agencies treat other loan defaulters and economic offenders in the same manner?
Does the Modi government consider the Sandesara brothers as fugitive economic offenders and why do oil PSUs indulge in repeated business with economic offenders?
Will the Modi government direct ED and CBI to seize the vehicle that is reaching Paradip in November 2021?