NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel was quizzed by Enforcement Directorate (ED) investigators for the second time at his residence here. He is being interrogated in connection with the Sandesara brothers bank fraud and money laundering case probe to the tune of Rs 14,500 crore.
A three-member team of the central agency along with few other officials reached Patel's 23, Mother Teresa Crescent home in the Lutyen's zone around 10:30 am, as reported by a news agency. Officials wore masks and gloves as COVID-19 protocols mandate it.
On June 27, Patel, 70, was quizzed for eight hours at his residence.
The Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat had earlier refused to visit ED office citing COVID-19 guidelines that disallows senior citizens from coming out.
Patel, also the Congress party treasurer, has earlier served as the political secretary to UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi and was considered one of the most powerful persons in the grand old party.
This money laundering case pertains to the alleged Rs 14,500 crore bank loan fraud that is said to have been perpetrated by the Vadodara-based pharma firm Sterling Biotech and its main promoters and directors-- Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, Chetankumar Jayantilal Sandesara and Deepti Sandesara -- all of whom are absconding. Nitin and Chetankumar are brothers.
The agency has alleged that this is a bigger bank scam in volume than the PNB fraud involving diamantaires Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi which amounts to Rs 13,400 crore.
The Sandesaras are also facing separate probes by the CBI and the Income Tax Department for their alleged nexus with some high-profile politicians and charges of corruption and tax evasion, respectively. At present, they are stated to be based in Albania, from where India is trying to extradite them.
Patel, while speaking to reporters on Saturday, had said he replied to the questions that the "guests" of the government posed to him. "I am surprised that instead of fighting China... coronavirus and unemployment, the government is fighting the opposition," he had said.