ED Seeks Travel Restriction for Byju's CEO Amidst Investigation

ED Seeks Travel Restriction for Byju's CEO Amidst Investigation

The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has requested the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) to issue a lookout circular (LOC) against Byju Raveendran, the founder and CEO of Byju's, the edtech giant, according to sources familiar with the matter. This move comes amid ongoing investigations into alleged Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations by Raveendran and his company.

Initially, an LOC 'on intimation' had been issued against Raveendran over a year and a half ago by the ED's Kochi office, although the investigation has since been transferred to the agency's Bengaluru office. This type of LOC informs immigration authorities about an individual's overseas travel without preventing them from leaving the country.

Recently, the Bengaluru office of the ED, responsible for the FEMA violations probe, has advocated for a fresh LOC against Raveendran to ensure his presence in India during the investigation. Raveendran has been frequently traveling between Delhi, Dubai, and Bengaluru in recent years, with his current whereabouts reportedly in Dubai.

The decision to seek a revised LOC from the BOI is said to be driven by concerns for investor interests. A senior government official emphasized that even if Raveendran is currently overseas, the issuance of an LOC would prevent his departure upon his return to India.

The ED had previously issued show-cause notices to Byju's parent company, Think & Learn Pvt Ltd, and Raveendran in November last year, alleging FEMA violations totaling Rs 9,362.35 crore. The investigation revolves around complaints regarding foreign investments received by Byju's, its business practices, and alleged irregularities in foreign remittances and investments made by the company abroad.

Searches conducted at Byju's locations and Raveendran's residence last year yielded documents related to foreign investments received by the company and its overseas investments. The agency has pointed out the alleged violations, including the failure to realize proceeds from exports made outside India, delayed filing of documents related to foreign direct investments, and lapses in reporting remittances made by the company abroad.

The issuance of a fresh LOC against Raveendran underscores the ED's commitment to pursuing the investigation into alleged FEMA violations by Byju's and ensuring accountability in accordance with Indian laws.

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