NEW DELHI: The ED today arrested a businessman here in connection with its money laundering probe in the over Rs 5,000 crore alleged bank fraud case involving a Gujarat-based pharma firm and few other hawala deals.
Official sources said the central probe agency arrested Gagan Dhawan early today from the national capital, under sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), after he was called for questioning in the case.
He was later produced by the agency before a court here which sent him to seven days of ED custody.
Dhawan, they said, was on the radar of the agency for allegedly aiding bank loan frauds related to Sterling Biotech, the Vadodara-based company and few other similar alleged illegal transactions.
It had registered a case under the PMLA based on a recent CBI FIR of alleged defrauding of the Andhra bank by the said firm to the tune of over Rs 5,000 crore.
The agency suspects the role of about 300 shell firms in perpetrating money laundering and alleged routing of illegal funds through foreign shores in this case.
The sources claimed Dhawan allegedly had links with a number of bureaucrats and politicians whose funds he reportedly transacted through hawala.
The Gujarat firm and Dhawan are also being probed by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) for allegedly bribing senior Income Tax Department officials, as part of an earlier criminal complaint.
The agency had carried out searches against Dhawan and a former Congress MLA in Delhi in August.
The CBI had recently 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 Andhra Bank Anup Garg and other unidentified persons in connection with the alleged bank fraud case.
The CBI has alleged that the company had taken loans of over Rs 5,000 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank which have turned into non-performing assets.
The FIR has alleged that the total pending dues of the group companies were Rs 5,383 crore as on December 31, 2016.
The ED had taken a cognisance of this FIR to file a money laundering case against them.