UAE-based Indian businessman C.C. Thampi arrested in Delhi
Alleged violations of over Rs10 billion.
UAE-based NRI businessman C.C. Thampi has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in New Delhi, India, and is being probed for alleged forex violations of over Rs10 billion and other charges, under the anti-money laundering law, officials told media.
The ED arrested him on Friday evening in the wake of investigations against Congress leader Sonia Gandhi's son-in-law Robert Vadra, allegedly involving money laundering vis-a-vis assets worth 1.9 million GBP in the UK. Thampi was sent in three-day ED custody by special CBI Judge Arvind Kumar on Saturday evening.
According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), the businessman from Kerala has been summoned by the central agency in the past for questioning on his alleged links with Indian businessman Vadra and absconding arms dealer Sanjay Bhandari.
Businesses in the UAE
Sources said that he has several businesses in the UAE, including real estate and a hotel chain. He is also the owner of the popular Kerala cuisine restaurant chain Nalukettu, they added. Thampi is the owner of an engineering college in Kerala as well.
A source close to the businessman told Khaleej Times: "He has not been in the UAE for several months now. However, I suppose, the issues against him began about two to three years ago." The source added: "I don't think his businesses, especially the hospitality and F&B ones in Dubai, would be immediately impacted."
The staff at Nalukettu restaurant in Ajman said businesses will continue as usual.
Thampi of the Holiday Group had come under the scanner in another case for alleged wrongful approval by the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) to an engineering college at Kerala's Thrissur in 2009.
The firms that are being investigated by the ED, as part of the two FEMA show-cause notices issued against him, include Holiday City Centre Private Limited, Holiday Properties Private Limited and Holiday Bekal Resorts Private Limited.
Thampi: A typical rags-to-riches story
Starting off by doing odd jobs after moving to the Middle East in the 1980s, Thampi's story is a rags-to-riches one.
Hailing from Thrissur district in Kerala, Thampi's life changed for the better after he landed up in the Middle East in the 80s.
Starting off by doing odd jobs, he set up his own business. After almost a quarter of a century operating from his business base in the UAE, he now owns a string of businesses across various sectors and in multiple locations both in and outside the Gulf country, ranging from educational institutions, resorts, distilleries and real estate.
Thampi is scheduled to be presented in Delhi's Rouse Avenue Court on Tuesday at the end of his Enforcement Directorate remand on January 21.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS)
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