The actor arrested in Team Solar financial fraud case
The State police on Friday arrested actor Shalu Menon in connection with the Team Solar financial fraud case.
According to the police, she was held in connection with a cheating case (Thampanoor Crime 951/2013) registered against alleged conman Biju Radhakrishnan, one of the main promoters of the ‘paper company’ which promised potential investors high returns on ‘State-backed’ wind and solar energy harvesting projects, in March.
The police had registered the case on the basis of separate complaints filed by a doctor and a businessman. They had alleged that Biju had conned them out of Rs.25 lakh and Rs.76 lakh respectively by posing as a bureaucrat who had taken voluntary retirement from service to work on a personal basis for the Union Ministry for New and Renewable Energy at the behest of Finance Minister P. Chidambaram.
Biju had met them at their respective residences, where he arrived in a beacon-fitted car, purportedly to give the impression that he was a top government official. The charges against him also included impersonation, forgery, and use of forged documents as genuine ones.
Investigators said Shalu came under a cloud of suspicion in the case, primarily owing to her association with Biju. Moreover, one of the complainants reportedly gave a confidential statement to a magistrate on his own under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, detailing her alleged involvement in the huge financial transaction.
The police said they had retrieved text messages purportedly sent by Biju to the businessman seeking a large amount of money as loan for the actor, who was building a house in Changanassery at the time. A forensic analysis of the call data details of the mobile phones used by the actor and Biju showed the tower location near the complainant’s house a few times last year.
Saritha not in picture
The police said they were investigating whether Shalu, through her association, had by acts of omission or commission promoted Biju’s financial interests.
Investigators said that Biju’s business associate Saritha S. Nair did not figure as accused in the cheating cases registered here.
He also floated a second paper company, Swiss Solar, to facilitate his fraud in the capital. He started an office in a commercial locality in the city, hired several experienced salespersons as staff, and ran the operation for a month before he absconded, leaving his investors and employees in the lurch.
Additional Director General of Police A. Hemachandran, and Assistant Commissioner Reji Jacob questioned the actor at the South Zone police headquarters here for nearly two hours from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. According to our Kottayam Bureau, a police team under V.A. Nishadmon, Circle Inspector of Police, Changanassery, took her into custody from her residence at Changanassery by 3.40 p.m. She would be produced before a magistrate on Saturday. She spent Friday night at the women’s police station here.