ED questions actor Dino Morea in Sterling Biotech case

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) on Wednesday said that it has questioned Bollywood actor Dino Morea as part of its probe into the Rs 8,100 crore Sterling Biotech case.

A senior ED official told IANS, “We recorded the statement of Morea under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act on Tuesday.”

The official said that Morea was questioned about the money transactions between him and Gujarat-based pharmaceutical company Sterling Biotech for a programme in Gujarat.

The official said that the actor was also asked to share the bank transactions details.

Earlier, Morea had skipped several ED summons.

Besides Morea, the ED had earlier also summoned popular disc jockey DJ Aqeel. Aqeel also skipped questioning by the financial probe agency last week.

Aqeel is married to Farah Ali Khan, the eldest daughter of Bollywood actor and director Sanjay Khan.

According to ED officials, Morea and Aqeel were paid money by the Sterling Biotech group in the past for performing in Gujarat.

The ED has registered a money laundering case against Sterling Biotech group of the Sandesara brothers (Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara and Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara) and others in August 2017 after a case of alleged bank fraud of Rs 5,700 crore was filed against them by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Investigation by the ED revealed that the Sandesara brothers and others hatched a criminal conspiracy to cheat banks by manipulating figures in the balance sheets of their flagship companies to induce banks to sanction higher loans.

According to earlier ED statements, after obtaining the loans, the accused diverted them to non-mandated purposes through a web of shell companies. Thus, the loan funds were diverted, layered and laundered by the promoters for personal purposes.

The ED has arrested four persons, including a Delhi-based businessman-cum-middleman Gagan Dhawan, ex-director of Andhra Bank Anup Garg, Director of Sterling Biotech R.B. Dixit and Ranjeet Malik, an aide to Dhawan.

Fugitive businessman Hitesh Narender Bhai Patel was detained in Albania on March 22 on the basis of a red corner notice (RCN) issued by the Interpol on March 11 following a request by India.

Patel is the brother-in-law of Sandesara brothers.

The ED said the accused have incorporated more than 100 entities in various countries, including the UAE, the US, the UK, British Virgin Islands, Mauritius, Barbados and Nigeria.