New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday said it has arrested a Kerala-based financier who is alleged to have duped 1,000 people of about Rs 240 crore by promising them high rates of return on their deposits.
Venugopal S, proprietor of Kechery Enterprises, was taken into custody after the agency obtained permission from a special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court.
He was already in the custody of Kerala Police — Punalur police station in Kollam district — which first began investigation against him and his company.
The court sent Venugopal to four-day remand of the ED for “investigation into the offence of money laundering in connection with collection of illegal deposits from public to the tune of Rs 240 crore”, the agency said in a statement.
It alleged Venugopal “cheated” the depositors by not repaying the amounts collected from them.
“The accused, while accepting the deposits from general public, assured high returns ranging from 15-18 per cent every year and assured them that Kechery Enterprises was having the recognition of RBI,” the agency alleged.
He also told the depositors that their investments are secured and that they had the option to withdraw their investments at any time and that his business entity had all approvals from the state and central governments, it said.
Eventually, more than 1,000 persons were cheated in the scam in and around southern districts of Kerala, the ED said.
“Investigation is in progress to trace the proceeds of the crime and other beneficiaries who have assisted him (Venugopal) in the scam,” the ED said.