Bank of India names absconding Sandesara brothers as “wilful defaulters” 

Bank of India declared the Sandesara brothers Nitin Sandesara and Chetan Sandesara, as “willful defaulters” for not repaying their loans. Enforcement Directorate has moved Delhi court to book them

Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Jayantilal Sandesara  (social media)
Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Jayantilal Sandesara (social media)

Quaid Najmi/IANS

In a fresh development in the ongoing saga of Sterling Biotech Ltd, the public sector Bank of India (BoI) on Tuesday declared the Sandesara brothers, the company's absconding directors, as "willful defaulters" for not repaying their loans.

The BoI has named the company directors - Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara - for defaulting on cash credit and term loans of ₹124.79 crore plus interest availed from the BoI's Nariman Point Large Corporate Branch way back in June 2009.

The BoI has also separately declared Nitin J. Sandesara as "willful defaulter" for not repaying another loan of ₹113.69 crore plus interest availed by his company Sterling Global Oil Resources Pvt Ltd from the same branch in September 2015.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) is also investigating the case and has moved Delhi court against them even as efforts are on to bring them to book.

While Sterling Biotech Ltd is based in Bandra, Mumbai, Sterling Global Oil Resources is based in Victorial Island Annexe at Lagos, Nigeria, as per the public notices issued by BoI.

The BoI's cautionery notices come barely three weeks after the company with 800 employees was ordered on May 8, 2019, to be liquidated as a going concern by the Mumbai bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) comprising Members Ravikumar Duraiswamy and V. P. Singh.

This order, however, was stayed by the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) on May 30, and the matter has been posted for final hearing on July 16.

The BoI is among 37 prominent banks and financial institutions who have made claims of ₹15,013.73 crore from the beleaguered Vadodara-based Sterling Group, of which ₹ ₹9,035.08 crores have been admitted.

Besides, there is another admitted claim of ₹5,934,285, against total claims of ₹7,702,780, due to the workmen of the company.

Additionally, 48 operational creditors have claimed a sum of ₹4,705,620,218 of which only ₹90,386,501 has been admitted.

It may be recalled that during its earlier hearing, the NCLT Mumbai had questioned the motives of the lenders, led by Andhra Bank, to withdraw their bankruptcy application for a one-time settlement (OTS) with the absconding promoters of the Sterling Group.

The NCLT raised doubts on the OTS of around ₹3,100 crore, which would translate to a whopping 65 per cent haircut for the lenders.

The absconding promoters are - the Sandesara brothers, Dipti Chetan Sandesara and Hiteshkumar Patel.

In March 2018, the government had admitted in the Lok Sabha that some 31 top economic offenders had fled the country, including the Sandesara trio.

The ED, which is probing the mega fraud of over ₹14,000 crore, has already attached the properties of the promoters worth around ₹4,200 crore in India and abroad, under the recently-enacted Fugitive Economic Offenders Act.

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