Byju’s: ED seeks look out circular against Byju Raveendran

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New Delhi: The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) has asked the Bureau of Immigration (BOI) to issue a look out circular (LOC) against Byju Raveendran, founder and CEO of the eponymous, embattled edtech company Byju’s, people with knowledge of the matter told ET. The central agency approached BOI earlier this month to issue a fresh LOC to ensure that Raveendran does not leave the country.

An LOC ‘on intimation’ has already been issued against Raveendran. It was opened more than one and a half years ago at the request of the ED’s Kochi office. However, the investigation was later transferred to the Bengaluru office of the agency.

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The LOC ‘on intimation’ results in immigration authorities informing a probe agency about the individual going overseas but the person is not stopped from leaving the country.

The ED’s Bengaluru office, which is probing alleged Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) violations, recently took the view that an LOC needs to be issued against Raveendran to prevent him from leaving the country, said people in the know.

Raveendran has mostly been shuttling between Delhi and Dubai for the past three years. He was in Bengaluru earlier this week, said people aware of the matter. The people cited above also told ET that Raveendran was in Delhi last week on a work trip. Raveendran told ET that he was currently in Dubai. He had left for the emirate earlier this week and “will be travelling to Singapore tomorrow”.

The decision to approach the BOI for a “revised” LOC was taken keeping in view the “interest of investors”, according to one of the persons cited above.

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A senior government official said even if Raveendran is overseas, once LOC is issued, he will not be allowed to leave the country once he returns.”The LOC, once opened, will ensure that the interest of investors is safeguarded and the case is taken to its logical conclusion without any difficulty,” the person said.

The agency had issued show-cause notices in November last year to Byju’s parent Think & Learn Pvt Ltd and Raveendran over alleged violations of Rs 9,362.35 crore under FEMA. The ED said in a statement at the time that it had initiated investigations on the basis of various complaints regarding the foreign investment received by Byju’s and its business conduct.

“The company was also stated to have made significant foreign remittances outside India and investments abroad which were allegedly in contravention of provisions of FEMA, 1999, and caused loss of revenue to the government of India,” ED had said.

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The agency had conducted searches at Byju’s locations as well as Raveendran’s residence on April 27-28 last year and seized documents pertaining to investments received by the company as well as those related to the investments made by it overseas.

The probe agency had further said that the alleged violation was caused by the company failing to realise proceeds of exports made outside India and the delayed filing of documents against foreign direct investment (FDI) received by the firm. It also cited the failure to file documents against remittances made by the company outside India.



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