The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has arrested C. C. William Verghese, chairman-cum-managing director of BRD Group in Thrissur, Kerala, in connection with money laundering. It has got his seven-day custody.
The ED probe is based on the FIRs registered at the Kunnamkulam police station, on complaints from people alleging that Mr. Verghese and others lured them into investing money in various companies promoted by him, including BRD Finance Limited, BRD Securities Limited, BRD Motors Limited. The entities promised 18% returns per annum, they alleged.
“Initially, money was collected as investments and later on share certificates were issued, but the companies did not pay dividend as promised and instead, issued bonus shares. There are around 140 FIRs registered at the Kunnamkulam police station during 2018 and 2019 on similar allegations,” said an ED official.
The ED has gathered documentary evidence and recorded the statements of various persons. It also carried out searches on the premises of BRD Securities, BRD Finance, BRD Motors in Kunnamkulam and Kokkalai and also the residence of Mr. Verghese in Edappally, Ernakulam, on January 29.
According to the ED, Mr. Verghese formed several entities and collected money from various persons within and outside India. He, along with other associates, allegedly bought properties using the funds.
It is alleged that David Raj, one of the company directors and a close relative of Mr. Verghese, travelled to Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and registered a company named BRD International FZE in the Hamriya Free Zone there. Funds were also collected through that company from Non-Resident Indians in dirham, promising 18% return. However, the investors were later issued share certificates of the BRD Group of companies in Kunnamkulam, expressed in Indian rupees.
“These share certificates were also issued at the rate of ₹120 a share. The money was collected by cheque drawn in the name of BRD Finance Ltd. William Verghese and others were collecting money for investments from 2012 onwards and the process continues,” the ED stated.