Nitin Sandesara Image Credit: Social Media

New Delhi:  Amid media reports that Chetan and Nitin Sandesara, both directors of Gujarat-based pharma company Sterling Biotech and wanted for a more than Rs 50 billion (About Dh253 million) bank fraud case, may have fled the country, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said on Monday. It  added that it has "no information" about their whereabouts.

A senior CBI official said that it has no information on the whereabouts of Chetan and Nitin Sandesara.

The agency's official's remark came soon after media reports said that Chetan and Nitin had fled to Nigeria with their families.

The CBI had booked Sterling Biotech, its directors Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, Dipti Chetan Sandesara, Rajbhushan Omprakash Dixit, Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara and Vilas Joshi, chartered accountant Hemant Hathi, former Director of Andhra Bank Anup Prakash Garg and some unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud in October 2017.

According to the CBI first information report (FIR), Sterling Biotech had taken more than 50 billion in loans from a consortium of banks led by Andhra Bank, which had turned into non-performing assets. The total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 53.83 billion as on December 31, 2016.

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) initiated a money laundering probe into the case taking cognisance of the CBI FIR.

On January 13, the ED arrested Garg. The agency also arrested Delhi-based businessman Gagan Dhawan in connection with the case in November last year. The ED also attached properties worth Rs47.03 billion.

The ED in a statement said that the loans to the tune of Rs50 billion were disbursed by various banks during the years 2004-2012.

It also said that the lookout circulars against the accused were opened in August 2017.

During the course of investigation, three people were arrested, one named Gagan Dhawan who was close to the "power centre" when the loans were sanctioned.

The ED said that it was finding more properties.