‘ED’s visit’ nothing to do with Manappuram Finance, says its managing director

Kerala-based NBFC Manappuram Finance Ltd, whose assets worth Rs 143 crore were frozen by the Enforcement Directorate recently, has claimed that the “visit” of the agency was based on a “malafide FIR” pertaining to now defunct Manappuram Agro Farms. The ED had on May 4 said that it had frozen assets worth Rs 143 crore of Manappuram Finance Ltd‘s MD and CEO V P Nandakumar after it conducted raids as part of a money laundering investigation.

In a statement issued to the media, Nandakumar claimed that the “ED’s visit” to the premises of the company has nothing to do with the business affairs of Manappuram Finance.

“It was based on a malafide FIR filed by a person who harbours a personal grudge against him and his family. The case pertains to the now defunct Manappuram Agro Farms (Magro) which was a 10-year-old matter,” the statement said on Friday.

The non-banking financial company also claimed that the total value of shares attached by ED is worth approximately Rs 2,000 crore and not around Rs 140 crore as stated by the agency.

The case pertains to allegations of money laundering through “illegal” collection of deposits from the public, the agency had said in a statement.

During the course of searches, the ED said, it was found that the proceeds of crime had been “diverted and invested” by Nandakumar into immovable properties in his name, in the name of his spouse and children and into the shares of Manappuram Finance Ltd.

“Hence, ED has freezed the assets of V P Nandakumar under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), totalling Rs 143 crore,” it had said. The frozen assets include deposits kept in eight bank accounts, investment in listed shares and shares of Manappuram Finance Limited, the agency had said.

Manappuram Finance Ltd offers a string of products like online gold loan, micro-home finance, forex and money transfer, business loan, secured personal loan among others.

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