New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation is coming across as incompetent in handling cases of economic offenders. Yet another accused in a case of bank fraud has reportedly changed his destination and the agency is clueless about his whereabouts. This, when the controversy over Nirav Modi and Mehul Choksi fleeing the country after defrauding PNB and other banks of Rs 13,000 crore is still a hot subject for political debates in the country!

On this occasion again, the CBI is unaware of the movements of Nitin Jayantilal Sandesara, owner of Gujarat-based Sterling Biotech group and key accused in a case of Rs 5,300-crore bank loan fraud.

According to the CBI, Sandesara is in the UAE, but according to some media reports, he has left for Nigeria to seek a safe shelter there. “We are not aware that Nitin has moved out of the UAE to Nigeria,” a senior official said.

According to the sources, on the Independence Day, Sandesara was reportedly detained by UAE authorities. Later, the CBI and Enforcement Directorate wrote to the authorities concerned, asking them to hand the accused over.

Sandesara and his brother Chetan Jayantilal Sandesara, directors of Sterling Biotech — a pharmaceutical firm based in Vadodara — were the accused in a case of bank fraud. According to the CBI, the company took a loan of Rs 5,383 crore from a consortium led by Andhra Bank, which later turned into non-performing assets.

The CBI said that some politicians and bureaucrats might be involved in the case. The case was registered by the CBI almost a year ago but the accused have been absconding since then.

Similarly, in the Nirav Modi-PNB bank fraud, CBI is being questioned for allegedly helping the accused flee the country.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi had raised questions about the CBI and NDA government for ‘allowing’ him to flee the country. But the CBI refuted the allegation and said the necessary action was taken promptly in the case.

The ongoing tussle between CBI chief Alok Verma and ‘Number 2’ in the agency, Rakesh Asthana, has dented the credibility of the organisation. They have filed complaints against each other.