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ED requests lookout alert for Byju's CEO Byju Raveendran.

Photo-The Indian Express

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has taken a significant step by requesting the Bureau of Immigration to issue a lookout circular (LOC) against Byju Raveendran, the CEO of the popular ed-tech company Byju’s. This move aims to prevent Raveendran from leaving the country without informing the investigating officer, signaling the seriousness of the ongoing investigation.

The ED's action follows the issuance of show cause notices to Think & Learn Private Limited, the parent company of Byju’s, and Raveendran in November last year. These notices were based on complaints alleging violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) amounting to Rs 9,362.35 crore.

The agency has initiated an investigation into various complaints regarding foreign investments received by Think and Learn Private Ltd, as well as the business practices of the company. Allegations suggest significant foreign remittances and investments made abroad by the company, allegedly in violation of FEMA provisions, leading to revenue loss for the Central government.

In response to these allegations, the ED conducted searches at the premises of Think and Learn Private Limited and Raveendran's residence in April, seizing documents related to investments received by the company and its overseas investments. Statements of Raveendran and the Chief Financial Officer of Think and Learn were also recorded during the investigation.

Upon conclusion of the investigation, the ED found instances where Think & Learn Private Limited and Raveendran contravened FEMA provisions. These included failure to submit documents for imports against advance remittances made abroad, failure to realize proceeds from exports made outside India, delayed filing of documents for foreign direct investment (FDI) received, and failure to allot shares against FDI received by the company.

In April, the ED reported the recovery of various incriminating documents and digital data during the searches. The issuance of a lookout circular against Raveendran underscores the ED's commitment to thorough investigation and enforcement of financial regulations to uphold the integrity of India's economic system.

Feb. 22, 2024 4:01 p.m. 1159

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