ED grills Ahmed Patel’s son-in-law in bank fraud case

The ED has  recorded the statement of Irfan Siddiqui, the son-in-law of senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel, in connection with the multi-crore-rupee bank fraud and money-laundering probe against Gujarat-based pharmaceutical firm Sterling Biotech, officials said.

Siddiqui’s statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) after he was grilled about his purported links with the Sandesara brothers, the owners and promoters of the Vadodara-based company, at an Enforcement Directorate (ED) office here. It is expected that his questioning will continue on Wednesday as well.

Siddiqui is married to Patel’s daughter Mumtaz. Patel is a Rajya Sabha member of the Congress from Gujarat and holds the post of treasurer in the grand old party.  He was earlier the political secretary to UPA chairperson and former Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Siddiqui is also understood to have been confronted with the statement of Sunil Yadav, an employee of the Sandesara group, who had earlier recorded his statement before the agency stating that huge amounts of cash were handed over to Patel’s son-in-law by the Sandesaras.

The ED is also probing allegations that Siddiqui “occupied” a residential property in Delhi’s Vasant Vihar that was purchased by the Sandesaras.His links with Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan are also under the scanner of the central agency. Dhawan was arrested by the ED in connection with the case last year.

The alleged Rs-14,500 crore bank loan fraud is said to have been perpetrated by the Vadodara-based pharma firm and its main promoters — Nitin Sandesara, Chetan Sandesara and Deepti Sandesara — all of whom are absconding.

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