National

NRI businessman Thampi arrested in connection with London property

C.C. Thampi, file photo.

C.C. Thampi, file photo.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

ED had also served a show-cause notice on him for alleged foreign exchange violation involving ₹288 cr.

NRI businessman C.C. Thampi has been arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a London property that was earlier bought by defence dealer Sanjay Bhandari. The accused is currently in the agency's custody.

It is alleged that Sky Lite Investment FZE, a Dubai-based company through which the property was acquired, was controlled by Mr. Thampi.

Mr. Bhandari's company, Santech International FZC, had bought the house for 1.9 million pounds in 2009 by acquiring 100% shares of British Virgin Islands’ firm Vortex Management Holdings. It was transferred to Sky Lite in June 2010 at the same price, according to the ED.

The name of Sky Lite, which was incorporated in April 2009, was later changed to Mayfair Investment FZE. Mr. Thampi then handed it over to his nephew allegedly without any monetary consideration.

The Income Tax Department conducted searches against Mr. Bhandari in April 2016, following which a case under the Black Money (Undisclosed Foreign Income and Assets) and Imposition of Tax Act was instituted. Investigation revealed that his company had received about $5 million in June 2008.

Soon after the searches, Mayfair Investment was allegedly sold to a United Arab Emirates national.

Robert Vadra statement recorded

Last year, the ED recorded the statement of Robert Vadra, husband of Congress general secretary Priyanka Vadra, in connection with multiple London properties. He has denied any links with Mr. Bhandari, who is on the run and is suspected to be currently in the United Kingdom.

Mr. 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 ED had also served a show-cause notice on him for alleged foreign exchange violation involving ₹288 crore.

As alleged, Mr. Thampi had advanced unsecured loans to his three companies, which were later converted into equity in his name and in the name of his family members in these companies. The funds were used to buy agricultural land in Haryana’s Palwal and Gautam Buddha Nagar in Uttar Pradesh, through the companies.

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Printable version | Feb 21, 2020 3:31:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ed-arrests-nri-businessman-thampi-over-london-property-deal/article30605284.ece

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